Australia's largest ISP Telstra, which provides broadband Internet access to both retail and wholesale customers, has admitted that the company's authentication systems went down for a number of hours over the weekend. The fault denied Internet access to all customers that tried to switch on their ADSL modems during the affected period.
A spokesperson for Telstra told ZDNet Australia that the fault would only have been noticed by customers -- of BigPond and any ISP that resells Telstra's services -- that had switched off their modems.
"If someone had their modem switched off and were trying to switch it back on, something was preventing them authenticating back onto the network. It could have affected wholesale customers as well as Bigpond customers," the spokesperson said.
Stuart Marburg, managing director of ISP Netspace, which is a Telstra wholesale customer, said that the fault occurred at 2.47am on Saturday and was resolved around midday. He said the fault recurred just after 11pm on the same day and was resolved for a second time around 2am on Sunday.
Marburg explained why the only customers affected were those that had switched their modems off.
"If there is a problem with authentication -- the service that checks your username and password -- you wouldn't be able to log on. But if the person next to you had left their computer on, their computer would still be connected and would work," said Marburg.
According to Telstra, the problem did not affect a large number of individual customers and the company is still investigating the cause.