Provisioning error to blame for service disruption in Iqaluit earlier this month

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A service outage impacting Northwestel’s internet and cellular customers in Iqaluit earlier this month resulted from a provisioning error.

In its response to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), Northwestel says the service disruption wasn’t a full outage. It was a “degradation in service to our internet customers” and only impacted Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut.

The Cause

Northwestel says the outage was caused by an issue one customer had with their service. Northwestel explains the ports on its routers that provide services are shared between customers, who are granted a portion of the bandwidth of the port based on the services they purchase.

Without revealing the specifics, Northwestel said the limitation of one customer’s purchased bandwidth on a shared port applied to the entire port instead of the one customer, causing internet services to go down.

The company said it received the initial report at 10:15am EST on August 3rd. By 11am, the issue escalated. It was resolved more than 24 hours later at 11:30am on August 4th.

Finding the solution

In its response, the company notes it first became aware of the issue through calls from customers “raising concerns about the performance of their services.”

Since the network wasn’t in a “fail state,” as the network wasn’t completely down, their Network Operation and Control Centre (NOCC) didn’t raise any alarms. At 11am, the NOCC team began checking the network as a result of customer calls and was able to narrow down the source of the outage.

Northwestel said the outage did reduce certain internet services, but it wasn’t completely out of service. Enterprise internet services, including I-Gateway Service, were also reduced, impacting an undisclosed number of wholesale customers.

Wireline voice services, including emergency services, weren’t impacted.

Northwestel didn’t reveal how much internet traffic they usually see passing through the community and how much they saw between August 3rd and 4th, when the outage took place.

Northwestel says it doesn’t know how many customers were impacted by the outage and redacted figures sharing estimates. “The issue originated on a shared port, and we do not have information on which customers may or may not have been attempting to use their services at this time.”

Image credit: Northwestel/Facebook 

Source: CRTC

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