News

Internet Out(r)age

ARI JACOBS, Staff Writer

Internet aficionados can blame the eight-hour Internet outage last Sunday, April 22 on broken Charter machinery.
Students immediately expressed outrage to the outage through social media websites such as Twitter. Students used their smart phones to tweet statuses such as “WhySR?!” and “I hate ISR.” Others explicitly vocalized their frustration. “Internet is out across the entire campus. Seriously, #f*ckbeloit,” posted one student.
Starting at 9:15 p.m. on Sunday night, students would have lost Internet connection until 5:23 a.m. the next morning. It took Charter Communications, Beloit College’s Internet carrier, thirty minutes to isolate the problem and another six hours to replace the malfunctioning equipment.
The Internet outage affected the entire city of Beloit. Any large Beloit business or organization would have felt the impact of the outage. Small businesses, which have no need to pay for Internet carriers, would not have been disconnected.
According to Network Engineer Tim Tyler the eight hours necessary to fix the faulty connection represents a rather fast repair. Depending on the type of equipment defected, hardware malfunctions could halt Internet connections for many hours longer. Other Internet carriers may also not have responded with the same attention as Charter.

   As an Internet carrier, Charter owns the fiber optic cables and other equipment that connects large businesses, such as Beloit College, with their Internet providers. Beloit College utilizes hardware owned by Charter to receive Internet from the Internet provider Wiscnet located in Madison. Wiscnet is comprised of over 1,000 firms that use Charter or other carriers as a medium to receive Internet connection.
The source of the Internet outage resided in a defective piece of hardware owned by Charter. The hardware, known as a “card,” went haywire late in the night for no obvious reason, a rare incident for Internet carriers according to one representative from Charter. Defection of the card affected hardware for all Charter clients in the Beloit area, causing them to temporarily lose Internet connection until the problem was mechanically restored.
The function of Charter differs greatly from that of ISR. Whereas Charter couples Beloit with their Internet provider, ISR is responsible for partitioning the 150-megabyte per second bandwidth of Beloit College for students, faculty and staff.  ISR allocates more bandwidth to the academic side of campus during the day, for example, which may slow the Internet speed for students on the residential side at that time.  ISR-related issues tend to revolve around optimizing Internet use on campus rather than obtaining an Internet connection.
Students can receive further information on the Internet outage from ISR.

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