Aardvark Daily
Switch failure affects Pacific Rim
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7 May 1997

As reported yesterday in Aardvark, a problem at Global One in the USA caused major problems for Netway and a number of ISPs who use them as their sole source of international connectivity.

Around 1:00pm yesterday, a switch controlled by Global One failed and effectively disconnected Netway's links to the US - and the rest of the world.

Despite the best efforts of Global One's engineers, the fault was not repaired until around 10:00pm NZST on Tuesday evening. In the interim, a number of countries around the Pacific rim who all rely on Global One for their International connectivity were affected.

Aardvark spoke with Peter Brittendend of Telecom NZ last night and was told that this was an "unusual event". When asked what steps were being taken to void a recurrence, Brittendend announced that alternative data links were being installed by Netway and would be commissioned within ten weeks. He went on to say that this was not a response to the problems of the past few days but something which had been planned some time ago.

Yesterday's failure must be a cause of some embarrassment for Netway who claimed to already have backup circuits to avoid such problems. Unfortunately it appears that both their primary and backup circuits are terminated at the same switch in the USA - effectively guaranteeing that any failure of that switch will disable both.

Other reports indicate that although a small amount of capacity was available after the switch failed - it rapidly became swamped and rendered effectively useless.

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