INTERNET of Pakistan

General discussion about PLUC and Linux in Pakistan.

INTERNET of Pakistan

Postby jess » Thu Nov 17, 2005 5:31 am

In the backdrop of UN conference on internet governance, a question came to my mind:

Suppose the country was completely cut-off from the outside internet (fibre, satellite, and all). In this scenario, I put some vague questions below (since I have limited knowledge of how the internet works and am too lazy to Google):

* will the websites that are physically inside Pakistan be accessible from within Pakistan?
* Will the ISP's be able to connect people to the internet within Pakistan?
* Is there a "root server" within Pakistan which will resolve domain names within Pakistan?

Please comment.
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Postby saquib_javed » Thu Nov 17, 2005 8:46 am

Dear jess,

Good questions.

I don't have very precise knowledge of the networks but still I know somethings conceptually and wana share and take part in this thread.

:?: will the websites that are physically inside Pakistan be accessible from within Pakistan?
:arrow: YES
:?: Will the ISP's be able to connect people to the internet within Pakistan?
:arrow: YES (but u might not be able to use messenger :roll: )
:?: Is there a "root server" within Pakistan which will resolve domain names within Pakistan?
:arrow: Don't really know about it but it shouble like "Is there a 'GATE' within Pakistan which will resolve domain names within Pakistan?"

:!: Other people please corret and help

ThanX
Use Linux and feel Free.
OR
Feel free to use Linux. ;)
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Re: INTERNET of Pakistan

Postby ashariqbal » Thu Nov 17, 2005 6:41 pm

jess wrote:In the backdrop of UN conference on internet governance, a question came to my mind:

Suppose the country was completely cut-off from the outside internet (fibre, satellite, and all). In this scenario, I put some vague questions below (since I have limited knowledge of how the internet works and am too lazy to Google):

[1]* will the websites that are physically inside Pakistan be accessible from within Pakistan?
[2] * Will the ISP's be able to connect people to the internet within Pakistan?
[3] * Is there a "root server" within Pakistan which will resolve domain names within Pakistan?

Please comment.


[1]. [2] - they were not accessible the last time this happened mainly because most isps are not connected to each other (peered). They are just resellers of bandwidth that they buy from PTCL. For example I could not connect to metrobank.com.pk despite the fact that it is hosted by cyber, when I connected by multinet.
[3] The DNS root server for .pk is run by UUnet. Its probably not in Pakistan

Ashar
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Re: INTERNET of Pakistan

Postby jess » Fri Nov 18, 2005 6:43 am

ashariqbal wrote:[1]. [2] - they were not accessible the last time this happened mainly because most isps are not connected to each other (peered). They are just resellers of bandwidth that they buy from PTCL. For example I could not connect to metrobank.com.pk despite the fact that it is hosted by cyber, when I connected by multinet.
[3] The DNS root server for .pk is run by UUnet. Its probably not in Pakistan

Ashar


It appears that the fault in this case (not being able to connect with metrobank) was with the PTCL gateway in Karachi. Once the connection to the 13 "root DNS servers" was lost, the PTCL gateway did not have the proper tables in its memory to know which side of the fence a given website is.

There are a lot of CISCO certified guys on this forum. May be someone can correct us here.

A search on "netcraft.com" reveals that most of Pakistani sites are hosted in the US. Some notable ones:

www.pak.gov.pk ----------- hosted US
www.nawaiwaqt.com.pk ----------- hosted US
www.jang.com.pk ----------------- hosted US
radio.gov.pk ---------------------- hosted US
ptv.com.pk --------------------- hosted US

In Pakistan:
paknet.com.pk =============== hosted Pakistan
comsats.net.pk ============== hosted Pakistan

Why don't these guys get hosted in Pakistan? It seems there is nothing to connect to within the country! All traffic is directed out of the under ocean fibre cable, ricochets somewhere and comes back.

While it makes sense for PTV or RADIO to host outside because most of the listeners to streaming are outside the country, for others it does not make sense. Everyone should have at least mirror sites within the country.

What would be helpful is to have a mirror of sourceforge/ freshmeat/ linux etc inside Pakistan so that the internal backbone of the country can develop.

Do people running the internet show in the country have any clue?
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Postby Kdaemon » Fri Nov 18, 2005 10:03 am

Well Jess, discussing about ourceforge/ freshmeat/ linux and other mirrors in Pakistan,
- Highly Secure Network, already there are many on going attacks on Pakistan network ( might be in response from pakistan :) ).
- There are limited routes to pakistan external connected links, as previously happend and most of the Call centre projects were moved to India because of their good Network Infrastructure.

Well either you or me doesn't want own site to be Hacked or unavailble for months. but atleast there should be a mirror in Pakistan too, It'll save much money for pakistan paying other Networks. and to be spend in improving internal.
my 1 cent
reg linux user #298274
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Re: INTERNET of Pakistan

Postby lambda » Fri Nov 18, 2005 1:46 pm

jess wrote:will the websites that are physically inside Pakistan be accessible from within Pakistan?

probably not if they're virtual-hosted (multiple domains/ip). but see below.
Will the ISP's be able to connect people to the internet within Pakistan?

yes.
Is there a "root server" within Pakistan which will resolve domain names within Pakistan?

no.

you can grab the list of all .pk domains, and seed your own nameserver with it. assuming the nameservers for the domains you're trying to reach are in pakistan, you will be able to query them, get the ip address of the web site (or whatever), and connect to it.

unfortunately, if your isp uses transparent web proxies, you won't be able to connect to the web site. the proxies will see the hostname of the web server in your http request packet, not the ip address. they will then try to do a dns lookup for the web server's address and fail, and give you a dns error.

you will be able to ssh to places, and perhaps even send mail.
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Re: INTERNET of Pakistan

Postby lambda » Fri Nov 18, 2005 2:06 pm

jess wrote:It appears that the fault in this case (not being able to connect with metrobank) was with the PTCL gateway in Karachi. Once the connection to the 13 "root DNS servers" was lost, the PTCL gateway did not have the proper tables in its memory to know which side of the fence a given website is.

routers don't care about hostnames. it's not that.

Why don't these guys get hosted in Pakistan? It seems there is nothing to connect to within the country! All traffic is directed out of the under ocean fibre cable, ricochets somewhere and comes back.

some of it depends on where you are. example: www.pak.gov.pk.

inside pakistan:

Code: Select all

13:57:05$ host www.pak.gov.pk
www.pak.gov.pk has address 202.83.164.51
13:57:15$

outside:

Code: Select all

bash-2.05a$ host www.pak.gov.pk
www.pak.gov.pk has address 216.15.151.22
bash-2.05a$


however, the general answer to your question is: hosting in pakistan is not cheap. it costs less to get an unmetered 10mbit/sec connection in a colo in the states than it does to get a 2mbit/sec pipe in pakistan.

Do people running the internet show in the country have any clue?

read the broadband policy. however, without certain incentives (like, cheaper bandwidth for internal-only traffic), nothing will change.
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Re:

Postby LinuxFreaK » Fri Nov 18, 2005 11:58 pm

Dear jess,
Salam,

Most of .gov.pk sites hosted and DDOS protection and Data Center uses Reverse Proxy !!

http://www.ptv.com.pk is hosted by Server4Sale LLC

We also provide Basic to Advanced Level DDOS protection !!

FYI, http://www.blockdos.net

Bes Regards.
Farrukh Ahmed
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Postby jess » Sat Nov 19, 2005 7:35 am

Thanks guys, lot of useful and new information.

From what I can understand, it seems that there really is no internet in Pakistan. The ISP's only have pipes to the PTCL gateway in Karachi. The ISP's have no routing intelligence, all traffic is forwarded to PTCL Karachi gateway. If the COMSATS ISP in Islamabad gets a request for a site hosted by Brain in Lahore, the COMSATS blindly forwards all traffic to PTCL Karachi gateway, whose routers have the routing knowledge, the routers then put the request in the pipe connecting to Brain in Lahore. Lahore and Islamabad do not and cannot talk to each other. So all ISP's are really sub-ISP's (really aggregators) of one main ISP.

This is not a happy state of affairs. Internet means a collection of "connected intranets." What is needed is to form an intranet within the country. Mirrors of code repositories (sourceforge etc) can be setup to encourage the development of a local backbone. It is easy to setup Jabber servers within the country to meet the needs of local chatting. Even all chats today have to trave the undersea fibre out of the country and then back?

As pointed out by a Ashar above that when the undersea fibre broke, even the PTCL Karachi router went down and was unable to service requests within the country. So I am not sure even this gateway is worth much in terms of ability to operate autonomously. Who is responsible of contingency planning?
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Postby ashariqbal » Sat Nov 19, 2005 11:55 am

the reason hosting in the usa is popular is because pakistan is very expensive

pakistan is expensive because isp's do not create their own bandwidth, but only buy from PTCL/Dancom/Wol and resell. isp's can create bandwidth by connecting to each other (peering), but this requires trust (between isps) and tech skills.

there will not a lot of hosting in pakistan unless there is peering
there will not be much need for peering unless there is hosting in pakistan
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Postby lambda » Sat Nov 19, 2005 3:32 pm

jess wrote:If the COMSATS ISP in Islamabad gets a request for a site hosted by Brain in Lahore, the COMSATS blindly forwards all traffic to PTCL Karachi gateway, whose routers have the routing knowledge, the routers then put the request in the pipe connecting to Brain in Lahore.
no. packets between different ptc clients in lahore stay in lahore -- they don't go out to karachi or elsewhere. packets between lahore and islamabad don't go out to karachi, either.

most isps don't have routing information simply because they don't need it: they only have one outgoing link to the world. the bigger ones have their own AS numbers, and multiple links (ptc and flag).

This is not a happy state of affairs.
i had no idea! thank you for pointing it out to us!

As pointed out by a Ashar above that when the undersea fibre broke, even the PTCL Karachi router went down and was unable to service requests within the country.
not true. i could reach other networks in pakistan during all the outages i've experienced.
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Postby ashariqbal » Sat Nov 19, 2005 3:56 pm

not true. i could reach other networks in pakistan during all the outages i've experienced.


hmmm... what networks/sites could you access and what network were you using?[/quote]
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Postby mahin » Sat Nov 19, 2005 4:45 pm

jess wrote: Who is responsible of contingency planning?


End user :).

Now things will improve as ISP's will be stuck by declineing yeild [ Cyber Net selling 375.00 with certain conditions per month 24/7 which works out under Rs.0.52 per hour , this is the average gross revenue for top of line ISP ] had PTCL deal gone through things would have improved a lot. Some rumor had it [ cant quote so take it as rumor :) ] that Dial-up would have gone Dubai style [ Free access with fix line rent ] this would have benefitted majority who still do not have Internet access [ A 5 line Point of Presence at District head Quarters ] and have to pay long distance charge to connect.

This new genre of users would have created a demand for content in local language and local hosting.
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Postby mahin » Sat Nov 19, 2005 4:55 pm

ashariqbal wrote:there will not a lot of hosting in pakistan unless there is peering
there will not be much need for peering unless there is hosting in pakistan
Add to this the real compelling reason. With declining yeild ISP's would be forced to save cost and Bandwidth is a major cost.
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Postby lambda » Sun Nov 20, 2005 2:30 am

ashariqbal wrote:hmmm... what networks/sites could you access and what network were you using?

places across town -- i could reach my home isp's servers from my work machine (my office at the time used a different isp), for example. since i don't have any ip addresses memorized, there were few sites i could access (stuff listed in my ~/.ssh/known_hosts, for example).
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