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C&W network gets snagged

West Coast Net surfers experience some slowdowns as portions of Cable & Wireless's West Coast network experience a glitch.

West Coast Net surfers experienced some slowdowns yesterday and today when portions of Cable & Wireless's West Coast network experienced a glitch, according to the company.

In an email posted on the North American Network Operators Group Web site, a C&W network administrator blamed the lag on the redirection of its information to another host's network: Information hosted on Cable & Wireless's backbone network was detoured through different networks, and thus took longer for users to download.

ISPs sending information through C&W's backbone initially were rerouted onto other backbones, said Reggie Forster, director of technology and implementation in C&W's Internet engineering group. During the lag, information from some ISPs took a circuitous route to get to C&W, initially traveling through Qwest Communications' backbone and then to Qwest subsidiary EUnet before it reached C&W.

The cause of the misrouting was unclear today.

Though C&W has a traffic-exchange--or peering--agreement with EUnet, it does not have any such agreements with Qwest.

In addition to the rerouting problem, C&W this morning noticed high-traffic congestion at one of its points of presence (POP) in the San Francisco Bay Area, which may have caused additional delays.

Since a POP essentially serves as a junction point between networks, the Web sites sending information through this route could have experienced problems.

Forster of C&W speculated that the problems were localized at the EUnet connections. But until there is further investigation, he said, he could not pinpoint the exact cause of the problem.

"We're going beyond this to try and investigate the details, and need to put together a statement," he said.

He added, however, that shutting off all contact to Qwest suspiciously solved the problem.

"We were able to clear most of the issue by shutting off the peering section to EUnet, which is owned by Qwest," Forster said. "We don't have a peering agreement with Qwest."

Qwest, for its part, could not confirm or deny the speculation, and noted only that one of its routers shut down late last night due to a routine software upgrade.

"[The router] automatically shut down, then rewrote correct table information to correct an error," said Tyler Gronbach, a Qwest spokesman. "That may have led to some customers experiencing customer problems."

Gronbach added that nothing occurred on a national basis from Qwest's vantage point. He also could not say where the router failed or whether it caused any congestion problems.

"We're not going to comment on who was affected," he added. "We view that as a confidential agreement with our customers."