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At the end of October 2020, Qurium received reports from users in Belarus that Telegram service was not working properly. Although the service was reachable, an increased latency was noted among the users.

Beltelecom, the national telecommunications company in Belarus, fully owned by the Government of Belarus and operated by the Ministry of Telecommunications, controls the traffic of Telegram, generating latency for the messenger platform in Belarus.

During the past weeks Qurium Media Foundation and Human Constanta, a human rights NGO in Belarus, have been monitoring an increase of latency against the Telegram network from Belarus. During protests, only certain IP addresses inside of Telegram network had high latency. This behavior is likely the result of a traffic control policy implemented by the operator.

“The traffic policy is individually applied to each of the IPs in the Telegram network so addresses with less traffic experience less latency”, states Qurium’s forensics report. In order to confirm where the traffic shaping is taking place, Qurium measured the latency from different providers during last Sunday’s protests. The measurements showed latency from Beltelecom, while latency was not present in traffic from other providers in the country.

“The increase of latency seems to respond to some kind of traffic shaping strategy. These network traffic control strategies limit the output rate of certain types of traffic, in this case Telegram traffic.” states the report published by Qurium. “An analysis of latency during four days reveals the periodical congestion issues during peak Telegram usage during lunch time and in the evenings.”

Qurium forensics report: Telegram latency and Belarus

About the authors:

Digital forensics: Tord Lundström, Qurium Media Foundation [email protected]
Media: Clara Zid, Qurium Media Foundation [email protected]