Internet connection restored

Cydney Long

 

Georgia Southern University’s Internet connection is back up and running after being down for almost twelve hours beginning late Monday afternoon and continuing through early Tuesday morning.

“As of [Wednesday] morning, we’re still getting a few reports of some faculty and perhaps students who are still having some trouble getting to some of these servers, and it’s related to this DNS (domain naming services) phenomenon,” Steven Burrell, vice president for information technology and chief information officer, said.

In times when the Internet connection is unavailable, the DNS translates names of websites into Internet addresses.

“Because, in such situations, we don’t want the university to have a non-presence, we point a lot of our services to that page that says ‘hey we’re having trouble’ that way people that are trying to get to us at least know that something is not working right,” Burrell said.

The incident

At 4:20 p.m. Monday, the Georgia Department of Transportation was doing construction on Highway 80 in Southeast Bulloch County when it hit a fiber optic cable.

“That knocked out Internet service and PeachNet service to the entire campus and East Georgia State College as well,” Burrell said.

PeachNet, the University System of Georgia’s (USG) communications support network, dispatched crews to repair the marred fiber. As a result of the repair, the equipment used was then damaged.

“Because they use high-powered lasers, and because the fiber was broken and pinched, it was reflecting back into the laser itself, so it damaged the laser and equipment,” Burrell said.

The connection was restored around 4 a.m. Tuesday.

“We understand, probably more than others, just how important the Internet is, and how many things it potentially affects,” Burrell said.

Future plans

GSU is one of only three entities in the USG that have a single-home connection. East Georgia and the College of Coastal Georgia are the other two.

“In other words, we have only one way in and one way out of the university when it comes to Internet access,” Burrell said.

The USG and GSU are working together to create a second path of connection and a plan to provide the university with more bandwidth.

“Right now, we only have one gigabyte of Internet bandwidth to the campus,” Burrell said. “We split that between ResNet and the campus,”

The USG has built a second fiber cable, which will provide the second path of connection through Statesboro.

“They’ve put that fiber in and they tested it so they know the fiber is good, but it’s not yet active,” Burrell said.

The USG plans to activate the cable sometime after Thanksgiving.

“When we do that, we can immediately double our bandwidth to go to two gigabytes, which will very much help Internet performance on campus,” Burrell said.

Following the initial bandwidth improvement, the USG will upgrade the network to provide GSU with 10 gigabytes of bandwidth, putting the university on the same level as the larger research institutions in Georgia, Burrell said.

Currently, GSU prioritizes traffic to sites that are deemed beneficial to study or the university and places less importance on nonessential sites like Youtube and Netflix.

“When we get more bandwidth in place, we’ll still prioritize traffic – just because it’s important to keep a lid on certain things – we’ll basically be able to double what we have,” Burrell said. “That will relieve, but not completely take away, the issues of slowness and speed.”

The connection should be updated in January, Burrell said.

Burrell said, “The University System of Georgia and Georgia Southern are working together to make life better for us in Southeast Georgia.”