Network error suspends Internet access

by Kelsey Noonan | 11/10/04 6:00am

An error in the Dartmouth computer network early Sunday morning left hundreds of students without Internet access in their residence halls for almost 24 hours.

The problem occurred when one of Dartmouth's two backup systems fell out of synch for unknown reasons, said Bob Johnson of Network Services. The systems failed to assign IP addresses to computers not connected to the Internet at that time, preventing them from establishing online connections.

The problem primarily affected residents in the River cluster. In other areas of campus, random but localized groups were affected.

Network Services didn't fix the problem immediately, as the failure occurred within the system and did not set off any alerts. Since the office is not staffed on the weekend, no one was present to witness any abnormalities.

"We weren't aware of the problem until someone phoned in a complaint Sunday afternoon," said Johnson. "Then, the problem was fixed in 25 minutes."

Johnson was not able to confirm some students' reports of further problems Monday evening.

Hoping to prevent further errors from occurring, Network Services has developed a new plan in which the systems are synchronized every morning.

Students experiencing any Internet problems in the future are advised to notify computer support staff immediately.

Students inconvenienced by the error mostly complained about an inability to access course materials on the Blackboard website.

Gretchen Reynolds '07 observed that River Cluster residents are used to frequent disturbances, ranging from the ongoing construction to network trouble.

"The River always gets screwed," she said.

For some, being "unplugged" did not concern them.

"I just waited," said Hinman Resident Elise Krieger '08. "I did other work until it came back on."

Alexia Huffman '05 was somewhat more perturbed, she told The Dartmouth.

"I had to take out about 50 books from the library to work on my thesis," Huffman said.

"This is the second time this term that Maxwell and Channing Cox have not had the Internet. I don't understand why Computer Services can't do anything about it."