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UUNet repairs Net outages

Customers of the international access provider are again experiencing service outages.

UUNet Technologies (UUNT) has fixed widespread Internet access problems created by problems with the ISP's routers.

The backbone problems, reported yesterday by CNET's NEWS.COM, have been remedied with a patch, acccording to a company spokeswoman.

"We tested the patch for 24 hours on one of the busiest portions of our network, which is Washington D.C.," a UUNet spokeswoman said. "Once we decided the patch was stable enough we decided to propagate it throughout our network."

However, according to UUNet's network status page today, a hub outage continued to disrupt access in the Miami area. Senior engineers at the Fairfax, Virginia, company were working to fix that problem.

In a statement on the status page yesterday, the Internet provider apologized for interruptions over the past 24 hours and warned customers that Net traffic could be tied up for the next two days.

The instability of UUNet's network was caused by a Cascade Frame Relay "software defect," according to the ISP. Two weeks ago, UUNet's nationwide service was periodically down due a hardware malfunction.

"UUNet is working closely with Cascade to fully understand the causes and effects of these problems and is in the process of identifying a permanent fix. This may include rapidly deploying new software into the network," the network status notice states. "Routing instabilities may continue at a diminished capacity over the next 24 to 48 hours as switches receive updates."

UUNet's backbone routes Net traffic for many national Internet providers, such as Sprint, as well as local providers such as Direct Net in Oregon.

Direct Net informed its customers this morning that the network was up and to expect hiccups.

But for some, 24 hours is too long a wait for service that may go down again. "My ISP has been cut off from the outside world since yesterday afternoon," said Jason Hart, a Direct Net customer who runs a small online network.

"The outage means that all my users are without email and Web access, and I am without any connectivity to the other systems that I help administer," he added.

As usual, UUNet is not the only network with glitches this week. Yesterday, MCI's dedicated data channels for businesses were down for almost 24 hours, a spokeswoman confirmed. The outage affected customers in the Chicago area.