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Net withdrawal symptoms
Saturday 29 November 2003 02:35:00 by Sebastien Lahtinen

"Sadly, I was deprived of my nightly fix of online content, because although the yellow light on my cable modem was blinking, my connection was down".. That's what Bill Thompson, frequent contributor to BBC News Online writes describing his experiences of net-isolation during a problem affecting many NTL customers a few days ago.

A transatlantic cable known as TAT-14 developed a fault on Monday afternoon resulting in significant problems on the Internet for traffic between the United States and the U.K. but the problem was much more severe than initially anticipated. Not only did it affect providers using the backbones running over that under-sea cable, some users in the UK weren't even able to connect as it seems the service provider's network was reliant on U.S. based servers to function. NTL was of course not the only provider to suffer problems but some coped better than others teaching us a very valuable lesson.

"[Even] if NTL's network had still been down on Wednesday morning, I could have picked up messages from my phone and updated my weblog using my dialup account. But I am a sad geek who enjoys setting all this up. Most people rely on one company to do it all, and when that company fails to deliver it does not matter how resilient the rest of the internet is - they are offline."  [link]

Bill Thompson, "Can the net take the strain?", BBC News Online

Service providers and carriers build redundancy into their networks at different levels to different degrees, but it seems that there is still a lot left to evaluate, test and improve to ensure the Internet becomes as stable as we believe it is now. [seb]


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