Internet Routing Glitch Fixed

Wednesday, November 9, 2011 @ 12:11 PM gHale


The Internet relies on backbone systems to keep traffic flowing smoothly and they just had an issue that kicked millions of devices offline.

A software glitch in the Internet’s “Border Gateway Protocol” created a ripple effect Monday that crashed data networks around the globe.

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The outage appears to have originated with Juniper Networks, a company that makes router hardware for large networks. A set of updates to a core Internet routing protocol triggered a software glitch in some of Juniper’s routers. When those routers crashed, Internet pathways went down with them.

Time Warner Cable, one of the largest Internet providers in the United States, suffered a short but widespread blackout. “We appear to be recovering from a large but brief Internet outage affecting most of our service areas,” company officials said.

But Time Warner’s problem most likely originated even further upstream: Level 3 (LVLT), a “tier 1” network and one of the key Internet gateways in the U.S., suffered from the crash.

“Shortly after 9 a.m. ET today, our network experienced temporary service interruptions across North America and Europe apparently due to a router manufacturer software issue,” Level 3 said in a statement. “It has been reported that a similar issue may have affected other carriers as well. Our technicians worked quickly to address the issue and service is now fully restored.”

While Level 3 didn’t name names, Juniper confirmed its systems ran into trouble Monday morning: “This morning, Juniper learned of a Border Gateway Protocol edge router issue that affected a small percentage of customers,” the company said. “A software fix is available, and we’ve been working with our customers to immediately deploy the fix.”



One Response to “Internet Routing Glitch Fixed”

  1. dan_s says:

    The stability and reliability of the entire Internet infrastructure is much more tenuous than most people realize. The fact that all carriers are basically inter-connected to one another underpins both the efficiency *and* vulnerability that the Net has. Any carrier that is infected or compromised can quickly spread the problem to their neighbors and the trickle down/up affect of this results in very immediate outages (see for example http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2373542,00.asp#fbid=vYJK1mM2WSO).

    I hope that the cyber-security powers that be in the gov’t are taking steps to ensure the Tier 1 providers and top-level DNS servers are well-protected from “the bad guys”; compromising these systems would have a large and painful impact for all Internet users.

    Dan S.


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