Severed cable cripples Net

Summary:A severed fiber-optic cable was at the root of widespread Internet outages Thursday morning, according to sources.The outage, which may have originated with telecommunications and Internet giant WorldCom Inc.

A severed fiber-optic cable was at the root of widespread Internet outages Thursday morning, according to sources.

The outage, which may have originated with telecommunications and Internet giant WorldCom Inc. (WCOM), caused extremely poor Internet performance around the country.




The Internet architecture according to Boardwatch magazine.



Some Internet service providers were losing up to 88 percent of their data for a time, according to Internet Weather Report, a California-based Net-traffic monitor.

When a network suffers loss of data, called packet loss, it means information -- such as Web pages, e-mail or file-transfers -- takes longer to reach its destination, must be re-sent several times, or does not reach its destination at all.



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It was not clear whether the outage also affected voice traffic.

WorldCom blamed
Several Internet service providers said the outage occurred on WorldCom's network, between New York and Boston, at around 10 a.m. ET. Its effects were still being felt four hours later.

WorldCom did not immediately respond to requests for information on why the break occurred.

While outages are fairly common, they are rarely of this magnitude.

GTE subsidiary BBN Planet, an East Coast backbone provider, confirmed the WorldCom fiber cut, and said WorldCom was repairing the line and re-routing traffic.

A representative said BBN -- which exchanges traffic with WorldCom in what is called a peering agreement -- had suffered serious congestion as a result of the outage.

Ripple effect
"It's like throwing a rock in a pond, the ripples hit everywhere," he said. "WorldCom customers noticed it first, when they couldn't get anywhere (on the Internet). And then it started affecting other carriers."

WorldCom owns UUNET, the largest Internet backbone, and several smaller service providers, including ANS Communications and CompuServe Network Services.

Topics: Outage, Fiber

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