Will China start blocking SD-WAN traffic…today?

More than a decade ago, I launched the forerunner to SD-WAN Experts, MPLS Experts, on a project to China. Back then finding out telecom services in another country, let alone another continent, seemed like a mission impossible. China was among the most difficult.

Much has changed in our industry. MPLS has given way to SD-WAN, but some things remain the same. We still need global connectivity and China continues to remain a mystery. My story about China blocking VPN traffic – and potentially SD-WAN traffic – caused quite a stir in the industry, in large part because, like so many things when dealing with China, concrete information remains scarce (particularly for non-native speakers).

To recap: According to a notice China Telecom send to one of my customers, the Chinese Government will require commercial Chinese ISPs to block TCP ports 80, 8080, and 443 by January 11, 2018. Port 80 is of course the TCP port commonly used for carrying HTTP traffic; 8080 and 443 are used for carrying HTTPS traffic.

“I’ve also seen similar notices from China Telecom circulated on social media,” Yuan Yang, the Beijing correspondent for the Financial Times, wrote to me in an email.  Commercial ISP customers interested in maintaining access to those ports must register or apply to re-open the port through their local ISP.  

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