Traceroutes from Ishigaki

Ishigaki is a tropical island in southern Japan approximately 280km from Taipei.

The first undersea cable from Okinawa to Ishigaki to Taiwan was laid in 1897, around two decades after the formal annexing of the Ryukyu Kingdom and just two years into the period of Japanese control of Taiwan. To this day the remnants of the original cable landing station remain as tourist destination.

Today Ishigaki is served only by the Japanese domestic undersea cable network. Based on a quick check of submarinecablemap.com it appears that the while major international cable networks like China-U.S. Cable Network (CHUS) and SMW3 land on the main island of Okinawa, all of the major international undersea cables in East Asia bypass Ishigaki. In fact, if my reading of this 2014 report is accurate, today there is only a single private undersea cable operated by NTT West going to the island. (A situation will be rectified in 2016 with the laying of a new publicly owned and operated cable.)

So with that, let’s let’s take a look at some traceroutes from the island.

Hotel WiFi to Linode Sinapore

1 192.168.24.1 (192.168.24.1) 62.041 ms 9.176 ms 12.049 ms  
2 nas815-1.p-okinawa.nttpc.ne.jp (111.89.254.228) 14.037 ms 17.611 ms 13.189 ms  
3 210.165.255.185 (210.165.255.185) 45.467 ms 44.349 ms 70.524 ms  
4 e2-1-n-otemachi-core13.sphere.ad.jp (210.165.252.217) 49.356 ms 44.896 ms 93.678 ms  
5 * xg0-0-0-7-n-otemachi-core1.sphere.ad.jp (202.239.114.217) 84.592 ms  
xg0-0-0-20-n-otemachi-core1.sphere.ad.jp (202.239.114.178) 124.975 ms  
6 203.78.187.197 (203.78.187.197) 71.555 ms  
73-58-41-175.twgate-ip.twgate.net (175.41.58.73) 44.612 ms  
197-226-160-203.twgate-ip.twgate.net (203.160.226.197) 51.962 ms  
7 50-60-41-175.twgate-ip.twgate.net (175.41.60.50) 111.357 ms 47.777 ms  
213-60-41-175.twgate-ip.twgate.net (175.41.60.213) 116.647 ms  
8 63949.sgw.equinix.com (202.79.197.235) 149.456 ms * *  
9 * * *  
10 * * speedtest.singapore.linode.com (139.162.23.4) 150.419 ms  

Ignoring the timeouts, it’s interesting to note that our data goes through a building in Ohtemachi, near Tokyo Station. From there the data enters Chunghwa Telecom International’s Taiwan Internet Gateway (TWGate) network.

Hotel WiFi to Sakura Internet’s Osaka data center

1 192.168.24.1 (192.168.24.1) 29.537 ms 25.375 ms 25.423 ms  
2 nas815-1.p-okinawa.nttpc.ne.jp (111.89.254.228) 21.321 ms * 31.313 ms  
3 210.165.255.185 (210.165.255.185) 56.806 ms 52.191 ms 60.478 ms  
4 e2-1-n-otemachi-core13.sphere.ad.jp (210.165.252.217) 48.408 ms 47.464 ms 52.586 ms  
5 e2-3-n-otemachi-core18.sphere.ad.jp (210.153.243.90) 47.015 ms  
e1-4-n-otemachi-core18.sphere.ad.jp (202.239.114.194) 49.691 ms  
e1-6-n-otemachi-core18.sphere.ad.jp (210.153.243.94) 63.600 ms  
6 210.150.215.178 (210.150.215.178) 50.917 ms 46.113 ms 43.589 ms  
7 tkwrt1s-crt2.bb.sakura.ad.jp (157.17.130.54) 47.613 ms 56.344 ms 56.727 ms  
8 tkwrt3-grt1s.bb.sakura.ad.jp (59.106.247.122) 49.999 ms 66.888 ms 50.450 ms  
9 osnrt3-tkwrt3.bb.sakura.ad.jp (157.17.131.246) 55.523 ms 59.302 ms 79.219 ms  
10 osnrt1s-nrt3-1.bb.sakura.ad.jp (157.17.146.154) 54.109 ms *  
osnrt1s-nrt3-2.bb.sakura.ad.jp (157.17.146.162) 56.546 ms  
11 oshrt2b-nrt1s.bb.sakura.ad.jp (59.106.244.158) 69.331 ms  
oshrt1b-nrt1s.bb.sakura.ad.jp (59.106.244.154) 57.460 ms  
oshrt2b-nrt1s.bb.sakura.ad.jp (59.106.244.158) 53.659 ms  
12 * * *  

All the way to Tokyo and through Ohtemachi again? If you have done many traceroutes in Japan you won’t be surprised—wherever you are, you’ll find a disordinate amount of traffic flowing through a couple of major internet exchanges in this neighborhood. [IT Media] [MRI] [JANOG]

Hotel WiFi to Google

1 192.168.24.1 (192.168.24.1) 9.007 ms 9.928 ms 6.755 ms  
2 nas815-1.p-okinawa.nttpc.ne.jp (111.89.254.228) 22.581 ms 25.997 ms 22.488 ms  
3 210.165.255.185 (210.165.255.185) 67.737 ms 60.481 ms 52.871 ms  
4 e2-1-n-otemachi-core13.sphere.ad.jp (210.165.252.217) 63.485 ms 65.176 ms *  
5 e1-6-n-otemachi-core18.sphere.ad.jp (210.153.243.94) 92.368 ms  
e1-5-n-otemachi-core18.sphere.ad.jp (202.239.114.198) 55.368 ms  
e1-4-n-otemachi-core18.sphere.ad.jp (202.239.114.194) 46.969 ms  
6 210.150.215.38 (210.150.215.38) 46.815 ms 65.205 ms 46.021 ms  
7 209.85.241.90 (209.85.241.90) 46.229 ms 44.859 ms 72.432 ms  
8 72.14.237.227 (72.14.237.227) 51.001 ms 54.104 ms 44.504 ms  
9 nrt13s35-in-f174.1e100.net (216.58.220.174) 81.232 ms 47.517 ms 51.003 ms  

On this particular day from this particular hotel’s wifi, 47 ms was about as good as things got. This would be better than a cellular connection in Tokyo (around 70 ms on LTE), but not as good as home fiber (in the 5-6 ms range for me).

Impressions

  • Pretty much all data goes through Tokyo, and specifically Ohtemachi. This was consistent for both domestic and international traceroutes.
  • While far closer to Taipei (280km) than Tokyo (1960km) or even Naha (Okinawa), there appears to be no direct cable link to Taipei. And while it seems possible that data could enter international cable networks via a landing station in Naha, in practice network topologies send data through Tokyo.
  • The above is an interesting contrast from the historical telegraph network. Both the modern and historical networks closely reflect the political boundaries of their day.
  • While latency is higher than one would expect in a major city, most users will not experience any connectivity issues.1 NTT West offers high speed fiber internet access, and all three major cell phone providers appear to offer basically the same service levels that they do in Tokyo.

  1. 47 ms latency might be a little high for online gaming, but it probably wouldn’t affect most consumer applications. [return]