Broken internet cable disrupts online learning, meetings

By Tuan Hung   September 7, 2021 | 02:27 pm GMT+7
Broken internet cable disrupts online learning, meetings
A sixth grader studies online at her home in HCMC, September 2021. Photo by VnExpress
A problem has occurred along the Asia Africa Europe (AAE-1) cable, affecting internet services in Vietnam at a time Covid-19 restrictions force many to study and work from home.

Network operators said Monday a disruption has occurred along the S1H branch of the cable, affecting 20 percent of international Internet connectivity.

One of them said the reduction in international bandwidth occurred at the same time as students across the country simultaneously attended online lessons at the beginning of the new school-year, which worsened network congestion Monday.

"It took my kids, grades 4th and 9th, almost all morning to log into their online classes. And even after they got in, the signal was unstable, making it really hard to understand the teachers," a parent named Thuong Huyen in Trung Van Ward of Hanoi’s Nam Tu Liem District, said.

"At first I thought it was our internet problem but after asking a neighbor, the situation did not improve," she said.

Another parent named Phuong Thanh in Hanoi’s Cau Giay District reported the same problem as her two children face difficulties using Zoom for studying due to the unstable network.

Other parents said their children could not even log in to the platform while some found themselves offline and kicked out of online classrooms.

Vietnam is still in the grip of its fourth Covid-19 wave, which started in late April.

For now, a number of localities across the nation, including Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, remain under the strictest level of social distancing measures, with students having had to start the new academic year of 2021-2022 online.

The slow internet affected work as well.

Thanh Van in Hoang Mai District of Hanoi said she had to switch to using her 4G mobile network to continue an online meeting Monday morning.

"We have rushed to switch bandwidth compensation from other cable directions to overcome the situation. By early afternoon, network congestion had been basically fixed," a representative of a network operator said.

This is the second time the AAE-1 undersea line has had problems this year after the first time on May 25 due to a broken fiber optic cable along the S1H.1 segment, which took nearly two months to repair.

With the latest problem on the S1H branch, administrators have yet to determine the cause as well as a specific repair plan.

The AAE-1 cable was put into use in July 2017. It is a 25,000-kilometer submarine communications cable system running from Southeast Asia to Europe through Egypt.

Meanwhile, there has been yet another issue with the Asia America Gateway (AAG) cable.

A branch of the AAG was broken on July 19 and fixed one month later, though another problem occurred on Aug. 11, which has been affecting Vietnam’s internet connection to Singapore.

Reparation of the latest problem is expected to complete on Sept. 26.

Thanh Van in Hoang Mai District of Hanoi said she had to switch to using her 4G mobile network to continue staying in an online meeting of her company on Monday morning.

"We have rushed to switch bandwidth compensation from other cable directions to overcome the situation. By early afternoon, the basic network congestion had been basically fixed," a representative of a network operator said.

This is the second time the AAE-1 undersea cable line has had problems this year after the first time on May 25 due to a broken fiber optic cable on the S1H.1 segment. It took nearly two months to complete the repair of that segment.

With the latest problem with the S1H branch, the administrators have not determined the cause as well as a specific plan to repair it.

The AAE-1 cable was put into use in July 2017. It is a 25,000-km submarine communications cable system running from Southeast Asia to Europe through Egypt.

Meanwhile, there has been yet another issue with the Asia America Gateway (AAG) cable.

A branch of the AAG was broken on July 19 and that issue had been fixed one month later but another problem occurred on August 11 and has been affecting Vietnam’s internet connection to Singapore.

Reparation of the latest problem is expected to be completed on September 26.

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