Infernal Ramblings
A Malaysian Perspective on Politics, Society and Economics

Taiwan Earthquake Knocks Out Internet in Malaysia

Written by johnleemk on 7:32:02 am Dec 27, 2006.
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As Jeff Ooi said, the recent earthquake in Taiwan disrupted our links to the outside world by affecting the undersea cables in Taiwan that link Malaysia, Korea, Japan, etc. to the US. Singaporeans have also been affected, but reportedly their links to Europe are not as badly damaged.

At any rate, I have devised a workaround for the problem relying on proxy servers. Proxies allow you to connect to the internet indirectly through a server besides the one your ISP might normally use. Many people use proxies to protect their anonymity, but we aren't too concerned about that. We just want faster internet access. (Until I set up the proxy connection, I couldn't even connect to this website.)

The key here is to use a proxy located in Oceania (that is, Australia or New Zealand). Proxies elsewhere (e.g. India) might work, but I'm not too sure about that, so I'll stick with Australia. You can use a search engine such as Google to locate a list of proxies to use. I will not give you any real proxy addresses to use because I don't want to be responsible for overwhelming any proxy servers with Malaysian users.

If you cannot load a list of proxy servers (if you're lazy, here's one), use the Google cache. For example, if I wanted to load page 1 of the list, I would copy the URL into Google and search for it. Then I would click on the "Cached" link, which will allow me to access Google's stored version of the page. Google's servers are faster, so this should make it faster to access proxy lists.

Now, let's say I've found a proxy in Australia to use. (This is fake - do not use it. Please find your own proxy, which shouldn't be too hard to do. If you encounter difficulties, contact me using the form below or through my email: johnleemk@gmail.com.) The IP address I want to use is 234.123.234.123, and the port number is 80. Now, the instructions will differ depending on the web browser I use.

If I use Mozilla Firefox 1.0, I will go to the Tools menu, and select Options. Then I will select the "General" tab and select "Connection settings". I will tick the "Manual proxy configuration" button, and then fill out the details in the box labeled "HTTP Proxy". (Don't fill out any of the other boxes.) Then I will save these settings and voila, I am now using a proxy server, which should speed up my internet connection considerably.

If I use Mozilla Firefox 2.0, the instructions are the same, but I should select the "Advanced" instead of "General" tab. Then I will select the "Network" subtab, and press the "Settings" button. The rest is the same as in Firefox 1.0.

For Internet Explorer 6.0, select the Tools menu and then press "Internet Options". Click the "Connections" tab, and then press the "LAN Settings" button. Tick the "Use a proxy server for your LAN" checkbox and fill in the address and port boxes with the details. (That is, fill them in with 234.123.234.123 and 80 respectively.) Save your settings, and it's done.

Not all proxies will work - many of these lists are compiled using old data. Also note that many webmasters don't take kindly to unauthorised usage of their proxies, so they might suddenly cut off your access to their proxy. In such a case, simply undo your changes to your proxy settings, and start from scratch - go hunting for a new proxy. If you're really conscientous, you can save your own list of proxy servers the first time you go looking so you'll be prepared in case you need to change servers.

If any part of this tutorial on remedying the inadequate internet links is confusing, please let me know. I hope I've managed to help.

Update:

Youngyew has instructions for Opera users:

You missed out on the instruction for another major browser, Opera. I will try to give it here:
1. On the menu, go to Tools -> Preferences (or just click Ctrl-F12)
2. Select the "Advanced" subtab
3. Choose "network" from the bar on the left.
4. Click on "proxy servers"
5. Choose HTTP and HTTPS, and type in the URL and PORT for the proxy server.

The folks at lowyat.net have a list of confirmed and working fast proxies, if you still need them. I've found the speed on Streamyx is currently tolerable enough to use, although I still sign in to MSN Messenger using a proxy. (To configure your MSN to use a proxy, follow the instructions to set the proxy for Internet Explorer - MSN copies IE's settings.) I've also been informed that Maxis broadband has been unaffected by the Taiwan outage.

By the way, I have been featured on Jeff Ooi's blog (see Wikipedia if you're one of the few who don't know who he is). Welcome to all newcomers; I write mainly on political and economical issues. Until Jeff linked to this post, making it the most popular ever on this site, the most popular article was titled Pak Lah: To Resign or Not Resign. If you like controversy, you might also find my rantings about the social contract (such as Celebrate National Day By Tossing Out the Social Contract, Part II) interesting.

Anyhow, welcome again. I'll bask in my fifteen minutes of fame while I have it. :p


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