University Information Services resolved weeklong outages and delays of both SaxaNet and Google Apps on Friday, Nov. 21 after the department identified a broken circuit at one of the university’s internet providers as the source of the problems.
According to Laura Horton, UIS Communications Manager, the problems with SaxaNet and Google Apps were initially thought to be separate issues, so they began seeking separate solutions to the problems.
“What we realized midway through the week was that they were actually one and the same,” Horton said. “Someone would phone in and say ‘hey, Gmail is really slow,’ and then by the time we would get to them—which would be like a minute or two later—it would be back up and actually be fine, so because the issue was sporadic, it was difficult to replicate and to pinpoint.”
An email from Chief Information Officer Lisa Davis sent to students, faculty and staff on Nov. 19 indicated that the problem was solely with delays of Google Apps, stating that it was “an issue beyond Georgetown.” At the same time, UIS began receiving complaints of delays with SaxaNet, which was running up to 50 percent slower than usual at times, according to Horton.
The email encouraged students and faculty to “please quit [their] web browser, wait for five minutes, and then try again.” UIS was investigating the shared source of both the SaxaNet and Google outages.
“We started working our way through all the different possible issues and discovered later in the week that it was one of our internet service providers, and it was a problem deep within one of the internet service providers that actually only pertained to Google, so it was neither SaxaNet nor Google, it was further outside of our network,” Horton said.
UIS resolved the issue “by cutting over to a different circuit,” Davis wrote in an email to the Voice. Marty Johnson, Senior Director of Enterprise Services, Identity, Collaboration, and Mobile for UIS, said that the issue was a fluke incident, and is not indicative of any larger issues with SaxaNet that need need to be resolved.
“This is the first time this has happened in a number of years… It’s really a one-off,” he said.
As of Monday, Dec. 1, UIS had not yet tallied the total number of complaints received or disruptions reported, but Johnson said these will be compiled “certainly before the middle of the week is out.”