Aardvark Daily
Netway's Internet links fail again
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20 Aug 1997

Tens of thousands of NZ Internet users found themselves unable to connect to overseas sites for almost 5 hours when another network failure at Global One in the USA effectively severed Netway's links to the outside world at around 7:30pm.

ISPs such as Xtra, NZ's largest, and others which are solely reliant on Netway's international links quickly posted status messages advising users of the problem.

Other ISPs with redundant connectivity or connected through alternative carriers were unaffected.

ISPs reliant solely on Netway for their connectivity might be carefully reconsidering their options and some serious questions need to be asked of Netway's handling of such issues.

What happened to the alternative data links that were promised in the face of a similar outage way back in May? Have Netway been telling porkies?

At around 10:00pm some connectivity was restored through a router at SprintLink - perhaps this was the alternative data link promised. This still begs the questions: why did it take 90 minutes to kick in and what value is there in having alternative links that are totally inadequate in terms of capacity? Last night, as was the case back in May, the small amount of backup bandwidth was rapidly swamped, effectively rendering contact with the outside world almost impossible.

Perhaps it's time for Netway to consider ditching Global One as their point of connectivity into the USA, their recent track record is far from acceptable and these days, users are no longer happy to accept anything other than 100% up-time.

Global One have had an inordinate number of problems of late with Netway's links to the USA being down on several occasions in recent months - sometimes for several hours or more. Earlier in the year there was a protracted outage when in May, a Router at Global One failed leaving many ISPs in NZ and the Pacific Rim cut off from the rest of the world for almost an entire day.

It appears that routers are the most common cause of connectivity problems on the Net - why didn't Global One have a spare unit ready to swap in?

In response to the May outage, Telecom spokesperson Peter Brittenden described the problem as "an unusual event" - unfortunately it appears to be an event which is becoming increasingly "usual".

The Net is no longer just the domain of academics and hobbyists, many businesses are now heavily reliant on the Net for their email communications and also as a global sales and marketing vehicle. Indeed, a growing number of businesses are built solely around a Net presence.

Netway's performance, primarily due to problems with Global One, can no longer be considered acceptable for commercial use, and this time, if they're serious about being in the Net connectivity business they really should either change their US entry point or provide an adequate amount of bandwidth on those alternative data links that were supposed to be commissioned nearly a month ago!

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