Assessing the vulnerability of the fiber infrastructure to disasters

Sebastian Neumayer, Gil Zussman, Reuven Cohen, Eytan Modiano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

168 Scopus citations


Communication networks are vulnerable to natural disasters, such as earthquakes or floods, as well as to physical attacks, such as an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack. Such real-world events happen in specific geographical locations and disrupt specific parts of the network. Therefore, the geographical layout of the network determines the impact of such events on the network's connectivity. In this paper, we focus on assessing the vulnerability of (geographical) networks to such disasters. In particular, we aim to identify the most vulnerable parts of the network. That is, the locations of disasters that would have the maximum disruptive effect on the network in terms of capacity and connectivity. We consider graph models in which nodes and links are geographically located on a plane. First, we consider a simplistic bipartite graph model and present a polynomial-time algorithm for finding a worst-case vertical line segment cut. We then generalize the network model to graphs with nodes at arbitrary locations. We model the disaster event as a line segment or a disk and develop polynomial-time algorithms that find a worst-case line segment cut and a worst-case circular cut. Finally, we obtain numerical results for a specific backbone network, thereby demonstrating the applicability of our algorithms to real-world networks. Our novel approach provides a promising new direction for network design to avert geographical disasters or attacks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5743043
Pages (from-to)1610-1623
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Manuscript received July 08, 2010; revised January 19, 2011; accepted March 01, 2011; approved by IEEE/ACM TRANSACTIONS ON NETWORKING Editor S. Subramaniam. Date of publication April 07, 2011; date of current version December 16, 2011. This work was supported by the DTRA under Grants HDTRA1-07-1-0004, HDTRA-09-1-005, and HDTRA1-09-1-0057; the NSF under Grants CNS-1017800, CNS-0830961, CNS-1018379, CNS-1054856, and CNS-0626781; the NDSEG Fellowship Program; and the CIAN NSF ERC under Grant EEC-0812072. Preliminary and partial versions of this paper appeared in the Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Computer Communications (INFOCOM), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 19–25, 2009, and the Proceedings of the IEEE Military Communications Conference (MILCOM), San Diego, CA, November 17–19, 2008.


  • Electromagnetic pulse (EMP)
  • fiber-optic
  • geographically correlated failures
  • network survivability


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