Our first roundup of Internet shutdowns in Belarus

On August 9, nationwide internet outages occurred in Belarus. Here’s a first look at what our tools and datasets can tell us about the magnitude of these outages and their impact.

The population of Belarus is about 9.5 million people, with 75-80% of them active Internet users (figures vary depending on sources, see. here, here and here). The main provider of fixed Internet communications for these users is the national telecommunications company of Belarus Beltelecom, and the main providers of mobile communications are MTS and A1 Mobile.

What we see in RIPE Atlas

On Sunday, August 9, the day of the presidential elections in the country, there were large-scale Internet outages, which partially disrupted the ability of Belarusians to communicate with the rest of the world via the Internet. From now on, questions have been constantly raised about the scale of these outages and their consequences.

Our RIPE Atlas service allows anyone, anywhere, to create different kinds of useful internet measurements.

plans for our publications

The RIPE Atlas system will be devoted to a cycle of our detailed articles on Habré in the near future. However, this system is regularly mentioned on Habré, here are some articles:
Atlas RIPE probe
Atlas RIPE probe: use
Measurement as a path to openness
RIPE Atlas

The service consists of a network of probes distributed around the world. On the day when the blackouts occurred in Belarus, we saw that a significant number of probes in the country were out of order. This visualization from RIPEstat gives an idea of ​​the scale:

more plans for our publications

Articles on the RIPE Stat system are also planned.

As we can see here, on August 8, 19 of the 21 probes located in Belarus were operating normally. Two days later, only 6 of them were still connected to the RIPE Atlas network. A 70% drop in the number of connected probes in the country in one day is a notable phenomenon that is consistent with broader reports of the extent of the outage.

Of all the probes that remained connected, all were located in the autonomous system (AS) of the national service provider Beltelecom. The map below shows the situation with the RIPE Atlas probes at about 4:00 pm on August 11, when only one of them, located in another AS, returned to the network:

As of the morning of August 12, all probes that have disconnected since August 8 are back on the system. You can check the current state of the probes in Belarus at coverage map of the RIPE Atlas probe network

What we see in our Routing Information Service (RIS)

and more plans for our publications

And about RIS, there will also be our publications on Habré.
Also on August 9 we saw a decrease in route visibility for Belarusian networks. If we look at BGP data collected using our Route Information Service (RIS) – this data is available in RIPEstat country route statistics for Belarus, we will see that for some time on this day the number of visible IPv4 prefixes decreased by a little more than 10%, from 1044 to 922. The next day, their number was restored.

As for the IPv6 prefixes, the change was more pronounced. A total of 56 of the 94 IPv6 prefixes that BGP saw early on Sunday morning disappeared just after 06:00. This is a 60% drop. This situation continued until about 04:45 on August 12, when the number of prefixes increased back to 94.

It should be noted that the IPv4 prefixes in which the RIPE Atlas probes that were disconnected that day were still visible. However, the fact that the route is visible in BGP does not in itself indicate the availability of hosts on the corresponding networks.

Do the analysis yourself

As a neutral source of information, we actively contribute to the health and stability of the Internet. We offer a range of tools and services to help you get a clearer picture of how the Internet is functioning at any given point in time.

Much of the above is based on what we see in RIPEstatwhich provides visualizations for routing data collected in RIS, data from RIPE Atlas probes deployed by country, and other country data. They can be obtained by anyone who wants to track Internet events in the same way as we did in this article. If you are interested in further investigating outages on your own, there are many more widgets available in RIPEstat that you can use to get more information.

You can also dig into Raw data from our Routing Information Service (RIS)that we collect and make available to everyone. Or explore the current situation yourself in more detail by creating your own Internet dimensions in RIPE Atlas


Our data on Internet outages that occurred in Belarus last Sunday, together with other reports circulated since then, point to large-scale network outages that should have had a noticeable impact on Internet users in the country. While some of their effects were quite long-lasting – several RIPE Atlas probes were not available for several days, and a significant amount of IPv6 prefixes disappeared from BGP during the same period – everything seems to have returned to normal as of this morning (Aug 12) …

It is also clear that this was not a complete blackout, during which the entire country lost all connection to the global Internet. Several RIPE Atlas probes remained connected at all times. And as noted, many routes and ASNs remained visible in BGP at all times; although, as stated, this in itself does not mean that hosts on the respective networks were also available during the outages.

In general, this is only the very first look at the situation, and there are still many opportunities for further analysis. We invite and encourage anyone to use all the tools and datasets the RIPE NCC has to offer to better understand these recent events and their impact on the Internet in general.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *