South African internet users last week Friday fell victim to a wide-spread internet service outage and experienced very slow connections – or no connections at all. Fixed-line provider Telkom managed to rectify the issue late on Friday afternoon and explained what happened.
“On Friday, 7 June at 15h30, Telkom performed scheduled planned maintenance work to add new IP addresses to the ADSL network. The type of planned maintenance undertaken was classified as non-invasive, low risk and a very mature process routinely used to add new IP addresses to the network. Unfortunately a problem occurred immediately after commencing the planned maintenance and this resulted in all live ADSL sessions being ‘reset’; commencing approximately 15h49,” Telkom said in a statement.
Telkom explained that when a high-volume of resets occur simultaneously, the servers take strain and this leads to delay in connectivity.
“ADSL users would be accustomed to a modem or session resets taking on average 2 minutes, however, the high number of simultaneous reset attempts due to the problem put a significant load on authentication servers and thus the resets took longer than normal and were experienced by customers as downtime.”
“The focus, since the problem occurred, was on getting services working and stable as soon as possible. This was largely achieved with most services being back up and stable since approximately 17h30 on Friday afternoon. Telkom has also confirmed this with some of the major ISP’s,” Telkom continued.
While the issue has been rectified, Telkom clarified that an investigation has been launched to determine the root cause and to prevent future black-outs.
“The Company has now commenced an in-depth investigation into the scripts, processes and underlying network control elements to establish the root cause in order to prevent this from happening in the future. Telkom apologises to all ADSL customers that have experienced interruption to their ADSL services,” Telkom concluded.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor