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Saturday April 17th

UNC sees 110 Wi-Fi locations fail

Outage caused by network tests

The University is trying to find out what caused 110 campus Wi-Fi locations to lose access to the network Tuesday.

Jim Gogan, director of University networking systems, said the problem began at about 3 p.m. when an engineer from one of the University’s two wireless access point manufacturers made a change on one of the devices.

Gogan declined to comment on whether an employee at Cisco Systems, Inc. or Aruba Networks was at fault.

The outage lasted from 3 p.m. Tuesday to about noon on Wednesday.

The report noted that the vendor had “never seen that anywhere else before,” and that it was unknown how exactly the outages spread across the network from a single point.

And the problem that originally caused the outside vendor to come to campus still has yet to be solved, Gogan said.

Gogan said the engineer was originally called to campus to review the access points due to a lack of optimal performance, before crashing part of the network while performing tests.

“Users should be getting anywhere from 50 to 100 megabytes per second,” Gogan said. “They were only getting around two.”

After the outage, network engineers began to visit each affected location and make configuration changes to the access points, according to a summary report sent by Gogan.

The 110 locations represent a small portion — about 5 percent — of the University’s wireless network, which contains a total of 2,159 wireless access points.

Buildings ranging from the Student Union to Whitehead Hall were affected.

“As far as I know, no one here was affected,” said Bill Landis, head of special collections research and instructional services at Wilson Library, one of the affected locations. “Most of our computers are hooked up to Ethernet connections.”

Engineers worked until 9 p.m. Tuesday reconfiguring the access points, and again until noon Wednesday.

They ended restoration with a wireless access point in the Morehead Planetarium observatory. A representative from the planetarium said she didn’t notice the outage.

Leah Nelson, an office assistant at the Student Recreation Center, said operations there were not affected either, even though it was one of the outage locations.

Gogan said he doesn’t expect any outages to happen in the future.

Contact the University Editor at udesk@unc.edu.

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