CenturyLink Let One Bad Networking Card Disrupt 911 Services in Multiple States

From Tom's Hardware: Enthusiasts know one bad part can render an entire system inoperable. That apparently holds true for Internet service providers like CenturyLink, too, because a single malfunctioning network card reportedly disrupted much of its infrastructure from December 27-29. This disruption resulted in service problems for the company's residential customers, business users, and parts of the 911 emergency system.

Many noticed problems with CenturyLink's services on December 27. But the real danger was confirmed on December 28 when Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai took a break from systematically dismantling the nation's few net neutrality protections to say that he planned to investigate the outage after it "affected 911 service for numerous consumers across the country."

Catapult Systems senior lead consultant Nathan Ziehnert then revealed the outage's cause: "After a 50 hour outage at 15 data centers across the US — impacting cloud, DSL, and 911 services — CenturyLink says the outage is fixed and was caused by a single network card sending bad packets (they’ve since applied bad packet filtering)." That's right--people couldn't call 911 because of some bad packets.

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