Network Monitor

Network Monitor — May 2020

Connectivity challenges returned to Iran this month, including a lengthy regional disruption, and some brief nationwide outages.

After experiencing a month almost entirely free from internet disruptions in April, in May Iranians experienced a number of significant disruption events. The four most significant were:

  1. May 2–8: Kish Island experienced a near-total internet shutdown for 12 hours on May 2. After this incident, some Internet providers remained disconnected from the internet until May 8. On May 2 state news agency IRIB News stated that the outage was caused by a fire in a telecommunications building.
  2. May 10: The Mobile Telecommunication Company of Iran (MTC) announced that due to the outbreak of Coronavirus, which has led to the working or studying from home, they have witnessed the growth of nearly 50% of mobile data usage. According to MTC, this is mainly due to the increased use of Internet TVs, online classes and training sessions. Last time in March we noticed such a dramatic increase in the use of mobile data.
  3. May 18–19: The autonomous systems TCI AS48159 and Pars Online AS16322 were offline for almost four hours without any explanation from either company.

Pars Online’s disconnection resulted in a number of its users posting their frustration on Twitter. According to many of these users, power outages in the data center cause network outages. However, none of the officials of TCI Company or the Ministry of ICT gave any explanation about the four-hour cut-off on TCI AS48159 network.

  1. May 26: At 21:30pm UTC (02:00am local time) internet access was almost completely cut off for around 30 minutes. Even local websites were not accessible during this brief shutdown.

Our day-by-day analysis and documentation of key disruption incidents in May follows.

May 2–8: Internet outage on Kish Island

On May 2 IRIB News stated that a fire in a telecommunications building caused a 12-hour internet outage. Local sources confirmed to Small Media that mobile data was completely cut off. According to data from OIM, Sanaye va Danesh Rafe Iranian Kish International Company (PJS) on AS206495 was cut off from the internet from May 2–8.

Again on May 12, AS206495 was cut off from the internet for a period of roughly a day. According to local sources, the Isfahan-based ISP PJS did not provide any explanation to its users for the internet outages.

May 10: Short overnight disruption

At around 01:45am local time on May 10, Isfahan’s Ariana Gostar Spadana (PJSC) experienced a brief period of disruption on AS48309. It did not provide any public explanation about the reasons for this disruption on its website.

Brief disruption in the early hours of May 10 in one Isfahan-based provider.

May 19: Power outages in Pars Online data centre

Pars Online AS16322 went offline for roughly five hours, starting at around 2:10am local time. No explanation was provided. Pars Online’s disconnection provoked anger from a number of users on Twitter.

Power outages caused network outages for about five hours

According to unverified reports from a number of users on Twitter, power outages within Pars Online’s data centre were the cause of the network outages.

May 20: Internet outage at one of Iran’s international gateways

OIM data shows that on May 20 at around 12:30am local time, Iran experienced an internet outage on TIC AS48159, one of Iran’s international gateways. The outage lasted for around five hours.

The internet outage on TIC AS48159 occurred from May 19 at 20:00pm until May 20 00:00am

No explanation for the five-hour internet outage was provided by either the Telecommunication Infrastructure Company or the Ministry of Communications.

May 26: 30-minute nationwide disruption

At 21:30pm UTC (02:00am local time) internet access was almost completely cut off. Even local websites were not accessible during this brief shutdown.

According to Small Media’s investigation, only a small number of mobile telecoms companies such as Mobile Telecommunication Company of Iran remained connected to the internet. During this time, local websites were also inaccessible for users who experienced nationwide disruption.

The cause of this nationwide disruption remains unknown.

Based on OIM data, these are the providers that were affected by nationwide disruption on May 26:

  1. AS58224 Iran Telecommunication Company PJS
  2. AS12880 TIC
  3. AS42337 Respina Networks & Beyond PJSC
  4. AS25184 Afranet
  5. AS43754 AsiaTech Inc.
  6. AS48159 TIC
  7. AS60976 Pars Online
  8. AS16322 Pars Online PJS
  9. AS34513 TSTonline co.
  10. AS206065 Farabord Dadeh Haye Iranian Co.
  11. AS56402 Dadeh Gostar Asr Novin P.J.S. Co.
  12. AS48434 Tebyan-e-Noor Cultural-Artistic Institute
  13. AS49100 Pishgaman Toseeh Ertebatat Company
  15. AS51074 Gostaresh Ertebatat Mabna
  16. AS61173 Green Web Samaneh Novin Co Ltd
  17. AS49596 Fara Negar Pardaz Noor Khuzestan Co.JSP
  18. AS57218 Rightel Communication Service Company PJS
  19. AS21341 Soroush Rasanheh Company Ltd
  20. AS57497 Faraso Samaneh Pasargad Ltd.
  21. AS39501 Neda Gostar Saba