When we first got word last night that Egypt had shut off its Internet, most of the confirmation was coming from reporters in the country who no longer had access. I was hoping for something more definitive and graphic so I could see what it actually looks like when a country's whole Web goes dark. As I squinted helplessly at sites like The Internet Traffic Report, I was relieved to find the answer from the renesys blog.
The above graph was the first insight they offered. That line jumping shows the Egyptian sites that suddenly became unreachable. I'm not clear if these are specifically .eg sites or sites within some numerical IP range (and if you understand this better, please help me out in the comments **See updates at bottom.) but at least we can visibly see that what was on the Internet isn't there anymore, and it left in a hurry.
With their first update, they addressed what Rachel tweeted about a little while ago. The Egyptian Stock Exchange site actually had four IP addresses and only three were Egyptian. The fourth was based in Italy so they stayed online. (I don't know where I got this from. I'm wrong.)
More illustratively, renesys blog showed the minute-by-minute shut down of the Egyptian Web (below), revealing that rather than the kill-switch metaphor we'd been hearing about (and dreading), it appeared as though each Egyptian ISP shut itself off individually over the course of a few minutes.
Again, I appreciate any help you can offer in understanding this. For example, why is it that only 93% of the Egyptian internet became unavailable? What's up with that other 7%?
Developing explanations after the jump...
***That first graph is not of sites but of paths to the Egyptian internet. Part of the point of the "net" is that if one piece goes out, the information finds its way around through a different path. So that first chart shows how the number of paths to get into Egyptian cyberspace suddenly became unavailable. (Huge thanks to Michael Wise in the comments. See also Wikipedia on BGP.
***Still poking through answers on Rachel's tweet about the Egyptian Stock Exchange site staying up when everything else went down. The site did have four IPs, three of which were turned off. The fourth was from an ISP called Noor. Among the explanations for why Noor wasn't also shut down I find three credible ones: The first is that the Egyptian government kept it up on purpose for their own use and stability of the financial markets (even though there's apparently no trading on Fridays). The status of the corporations that make up Noor's client list may actually have more clout and priority than this particular government order. Thirdly, Noor's partners may explain why they stayed up.
***The Italian connection (which I'm sure I didn't make up but now can't figure out how I got it in my head) is that the path to access Noor is/was through the Palermo node in the Telecom Italia network called Seabone.