Large-scale service disruptions in communication have been observed in the past but are not well-understood. The goal of this work is to gain a better understanding of disruptions in communication services in response to large-scale external disturbances such as hurricanes. In particular, Hurricane Ike is drawn as a case study, and heterogeneous data is obtained from networks, storm, and system administrators. Using the data, we first study network-wide disruptions and dependences among different unreachable subnets. Our findings show that 120 out of 230 subnets in our data set were unreachable, among which 88 subnets became unreachable dependently at a time scale of seconds or less than three minutes. We then study dependencies between communication service-disruptions and external factors such as weather and power. Unreachable subnets are found to be weakly correlated with the storm. Power outages and lack of spare power are reported to be certain causes of communication disruptions. New research issues emerge for information acquisition across communication and power infrastructures as well as weather, and information sharing among organizations.
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