​Comcast internet hiccups reported across the US

Comcast, its consumer Xfinity internet service, and its upstream Level 3 internet provider were hit by major outages today. Services are now returning to normal.

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If you thought something was wrong today with your Comcast internet service or its consumer Xfinity internet, you were right. At 1:23 pm EST, Comcast's internet began failing.

As the website Down Detector, showed, Comcast was down on the East and West Coasts and a large swatch from the Atlantic seaboard to the Mid-West. By 1:36 pm, Comcast's customer service was tweeting: "Some customers are having issues with their XFINITY Internet service. We apologize & appreciate your patience while we work to fix."

Behind the scenes, the internet administrators on the Outages mailing list reported major network problems. Specifically, they were seeing "packet loss and high latency" across both the IPv4 and IPv6 internet.

With packet loss, the packets that make up your internet messages aren't received. They disappear and your email, web services, and so on start failing. With high latency, your packets take longer and longer to get from one internet node to the other. Put them together, and internet services collapse.


Due to a connection problem with Level 3, Comcast and Xfinity had internet problems today.

Further investigation showed that the source of the problem wasn't within Comcast. Instead, it appeared to have originated with Comcast's connection to Level 3 Chicago internet backbone node.

Level 3, which was recently acquired by CenturyLink, is one of the tier one internet service providers (ISP).

These companies provide the national and international internet links that enable smaller and consumer internet to connect you to the worldwide internet.

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A Level 3, representative, while not admitting that it was at fault for Comcast's problems, said, "On Monday, Nov. 6, our network experienced a service disruption affecting some customers with IP-based services. The disruption was caused by a configuration error. We know how important these services are to our customers. Our technicians were able to restore service within approximately 90 minutes."

Members of the Outages list report they're seeing "all but 2 locations (originally out of 120+ sites) returning to normal with no packet loss."

So, by this evening, all should be well for Comcast and Xfinity internet users. This is a reminder, however, that the internet is not as stable as we'd like.

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