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Monday, November 23, 2020

Campus

Full campus Wi-Fi returns after hours-long morning outages


The campus’s Wi-Fi outage Thursday morning was caused by a technical error made when switching router systems. | File photo/The Cougar

Campus Wi-Fi is functioning again after a temporary outage on Thursday morning.

The outage, which lasted from about 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., was caused by a technical error with the University of Houston’s switches and routers systems, said David Johnson, the assistant vice president for Technology Services and Support. TSS, which is responsible for IT, switched its router system to Hewlett-Packard Co. from Cisco Systems Inc. early Thursday morning.

“We made the change at 5:30 in the morning,” Johnson sad. “As internet traffic started to grow, at about 8:30, internet traffic explodes on campus, so when everybody started hitting the network on the Wi-Fi, what happened is the table on the HP routers got overwhelmed, and it could no longer handle the traffic.”

Johnson said the outage was caused by an error made when switching to HP routers.

“Router traffic is determined by a database — basically a set of data tables that’s stored on a router, and every time you access the internet, it’s basically going to that table, and it’s routing your traffic based on information in that table,” Johnson said.

Johnson said TSS had never before installed an HP router, and they expected the same default size as Cisco’s routers. HP’s was half of what they expected, so TSS encountered problems.

“We weren’t looking for that when we made the change,” Johnson said.

TSS reverted back to the Cisco routers by 11:30 a.m., returning Wi-Fi access to the University, Johnson said.

TSS will have a conference call with HP on Friday, Johnson said, in which they will discuss how to ensure that all necessary adjustments have been made when the University does switch to HP routers in the future.

“When we make this change again in the future, I fully anticipate that you won’t even know it’s taking place,” Johnson said. “Nobody will see anything happening.”

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