AAG Cable Breaks and Restoration

There were frequent cable breaks on the AAG (Asia-America-Gateway) submarine cable system, the only submarine cable system that directly linking Southeast Asia and the U.S., disrupted the Internet traffic in Southeast Asian countries including Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Indonesia, etc. 

Since its ready for service in November 2009,  there have been more than 10 outages on the AAG cable system. Most of the outages are located at the intra-Asia segments of the AAG cable system, the segment between La Union in the Philippines and the U.S. seems much more stable.

So far in this year, there have been three breaks on AAG offshore Vung Tau cable landing station in Vietnam, respectively on March 10, August 6 and August 31. Vietnamese carriers, including VNPT, FPT Telecom and Viettel Telecom, etc, rely much on the AAG cable system for their international Internet traffic.

On October 2, there was a cable break on segment 2 of the Asia-America Gateway (AAG) submarine cable system between La Union in the Philippines and Lantau in Hong Kong.

From the AAG cable map below, it is obviously that the AAG cable break on October 2 was much worse than those occurred offshore Vietnam. The AAG submarine cable system is a linear system. The AAG cable break on October 2 occurred in its trunk, completely disrupted the Internet traffic between Southeast countries and the U.S. running over the AAG submarine cable system. While the AAG cable breaks offshore Vietnam affected only Vietnamese carriers.

AAG Cable Map

For every cable break, it may take 1~2 weeks and even longer to repair the cable break. So, it is much more important to restore the service promptly than the cable repair. 

Restoration

Vietnam

When there is a cable break on AAG submarine cable system, there are not many alternative choices for Vietnamese carriers to restore service promptly. One possible solution is to switch Internet traffic to the TGN-IA submarine cable which is located at the same Vung Tau cable landing station in Vietnam. The other alternative solution is to run the Internet traffic over terrestrial cables between Vietnam and China. There are multiple terrestrial cables between Vietnam and China, supporting 10G and 2.5G solutions, and running forward to connect Hong Kong and trans-pacific and intra-Asia submarine cables.   

Malaysia

There are not many solutions to restore Internet traffic to/from Malaysia as well. APCN-2 and SMW4 are the most sanguine alternatives. The other submarine cables landing in Malaysia, including APCN, SMW3 and FEA, may not have enough capacity to be suitable for internet traffic. From this point of view, we can understand Telekom Malaysia's enthusiasm to build its own pan-Asia submarine cable system, the Cahaya Malaysia, a part of the  Asia Submarine-cable Express(ASE).

Hong Kong, Singapore and the Philippines

Internet in these markets won't be affected much by the AAG cable breaks. There are multiple intra-Asia submarine cable systems these markets. And the AAG cable system runs more stable from La Union cable landing station in the Philippines eastward to the U.S. 

As forecast, the AAG cable break between La Union in the Philippines and Lantau in Hong Kong is expected to be repaired by October 29.

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