Iran so far unwilling to completely choke off 'Net

Iran trying to consolidate, not eliminate, Web traffic, Arbor says

Despite attempts to consolidate Internet traffic, the Iranian government has so far been unwilling to shut down its entire Internet infrastructure, according to analysis from security vendor Arbor Networks.

Looking at data culled from Arbor's ATLAS 2.0 Internet monitoring system, Arbor chief scientist Craig Labovitz suggests that the Iranian government is trying to enact a "piecemeal migration of traffic flows" to better filter and censor traffic coming in and out of the country. However, Labovitz notes that so far the government has not completely shut down its entire network as the Burmese government did back in 2007.

"Unlike Burma, Iran has significant commercial and technological relationships with the rest of the world," he says. "In other words, the government cannot turn off the Internet without impacting business and perhaps generating further social unrest."Labovitz says that before this week, Iranian networks would process Internet traffic at a rate of roughly 5Gbps. For a short time after the Iranian election finished last Friday, Iran's networks went completely dark. Since then, however, Labovitz says that Iranian networks have start process Web traffic again at a greatly reduced rate, typically between 1 and 2Gbps. At 6:30 a.m. GMT on June 16, Arbor reports that Iranian traffic levels "returned to roughly 70% of normal."

Labovitz says that Iran's inability so far to shut down Web communications shows the difficulty that modern governments face in trying to censor information in the age of camera phones, YouTube and low-bandwidth mass communications systems such as Twitter. He says that Iran likely does not have the same kinds of sophisticated censorship tools as China, thus making it more difficult for them to quiet dissent without shutting down their entire network.

"This is a fascinating age, as countries are trying to walk the line between economic development and maintaining specific social and political policies," he says. "Even so, you never know what will happen. I don't know if this situation in Iran is indeed at a tipping point."

For the past week Iran has been rocked by protests sparked by what Iranian reformists and several Middle Eastern reporters and analysts believe to be widespread fraud committed during last week's Iranian presidential election that saw controversial incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad allegedly win 63% of the vote. Despite the government's attempts to censor cut down on its citizens' bandwidth and access to the Internet, several Iranian dissidents are still communicating on a frequent basis via websites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Arbor recently upgraded its ATLAS system to monitor and collect real-time data for global Internet traffic, routing and application performance. Previously, the system had been used mostly to collect data on security-related traffic such as distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack traffic. The system is a collaborative effort that culls data from more than 100 ISPs, including British Telecom, Australian provider Netgen Networks and Indian provider Tata Communications. As part of their agreement with Arbor, all ISPs participating in the ATLAS system must share anonymous traffic data with one another on an hourly basis.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags iranarbor networksWeb 2.0social networkingtwitter

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Brad Reed

Network World
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?