Internet failure

Campus experienced service downtime first week of classes

Nate Neary, Staff Writer

The entire campus lost internet services Tuesday, Jan. 10, for nearly two hours, from 12:26 p.m. to 2:21 p.m.

Wayne State College was not the only campus affected. More than 40 public institutions and high schools across the state were inconvenienced, according to John Dunning, the Chief Information Officer at WSC.

A malfunctioning power rectifier in Omaha was the cause of the internet shortage.

“The power rectifier was built to never go down,” Dunning said. “We have never seen a shortage like this before.”

The power rectifier also is used in the same capacity for neighboring Northeast Community College in Norfolk.

Dunning addressed the incident in a campus-wide email.

“Last year, as we prepared to move services like e-mail into the cloud, we established a secondary path to Network Nebraska by partnering with Northeast Community College,” he said. “We now have a path between the institutions and, in the event of a network failure, either institution can utilize the other’s primary connection to Network Nebraska until their own primary connection is restored. This protects us from the most significant risk we have in rural Nebraska –fiber optic cuts or failures.

“That common point of failure building is designed not to fail. It features redundant electronics, redundant power feeds, and redundant power supplies (or, in this case, power rectifiers).”

During a phone interview, Dunning said that one failure of the rectifiers “led to the next fail and so on.” He said that “a failure like this is never fun.”

Wayne State College works with Internet Nebraska for internet services.

“Wayne State has been involved with Network Nebraska since its foundation,” Dunning said. Internet Nebraska provides all public institutions with internet services and some private ones as well.

Dunning said, “Nebraska institutions reap a lot of benefits from working with Internet Nebraska, one being that Nebraska has the least commodity internet rates for education.”

Dunning addressed how future incidents might be prevented in the campus-wide email.

“Network Nebraska is working with us and with Northeast to relocate one of our primary connections to Lincoln or to Grand Island (or to dual connect us both to Omaha and to Lincoln), so as to better manage this risk as well,” he said.

“We also have long term efforts underway to substantially increase both the amount and reliability of network connectivity, not just for Wayne State College, but for our regional neighbors as well.”