Internet goes down again, surprises by coming back up quickly


Rutgers' Internet access went down again early Thursday morning, alarming students who were studying for midterm exams or had projects due that day.

Students on RUWireless, RUWireless_Secure and ResNet lost access to several websites on Thursday morning. ScarletApps, Central Authentication System-based services and certain specific websites remained accessible, including Netflix and Facebook.

Other websites, including Yahoo! and Twitter, were inaccessible.

There were no clear differences between the websites that were accessible and those that were not. The encrypted sites that worked use identical protocols and have similar security certificates to those that did not.

The unencrypted sites likewise had no distinguishing features to explain why some worked and some did not.

Several of these websites were tested using Rutgers’ remote server, which can be found at apps.rutgers.edu.

There was no loss of service to University services for those using an off-campus network.

University Spokesman E.J. Miranda said the outage was caused by network maintenance that began at midnight and concluded near 1 a.m.

Full internet access was restored to most users on campus by about 12:45 a.m.

The Network Operations Center (NOC) did not have any upgrades or other form of maintenance planned for the time period according to their Web calendar or mailing list.

Network maintenance typically occurs between 4 a.m. and 11 a.m., based on the schedule seen over the last year. These events and relevant details, including what services will be disrupted and the location of the disruption, are announced through their mailing list every day.

Status updates are also sometimes posted, including the results of pre-scheduled maintenance.

Network emergencies, like unplanned internet outages, are also typically announced by the mailing list.

No announcements were made regarding this outage either before or after it occurred.

During finals week each semester, NOC institutes a “maintenance freeze” where no systems are taken down. These are also announced in advance, both on the website and via email.

Some network administrators said they did not know about Thursday morning’s maintenance the next morning.

Users initially expected the outage to be the result of a Distributed Denial of Service attack, similar to what the University faced on Monday and several times last year.

The availability of ScarletApps and CAS mean this outage differs from the previous network attacks that have affected the University over the past year. Previous attacks lost connectivity to the Internet or on-campus services, as reported by The Daily Targum.

The Office of Telecommunications Division did not respond to requests by press time.


Nikhilesh De

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