Wits res students were left unable to do their assignments last weekend following an unscheduled internet downtime on all campuses.
No warning was issued by the Computer Network Services before the disconnection. According to the internet traffic graphs shown to Wits Vuvuzela by a network administrator for the school of literature and language studies, Robert Nagy, the network was down for a total of 45 hours.
Nagy suspects that the router (hardware) which links Wits internet traffic to the world wide web was malfunctioning, resulting in the network disconnection.
The first down-time occurred on Friday night and was later reconnected after 9 hours on Saturday at 1am. The network then went down again from 10am on Saturday until Monday morning, which totaled to 36 hours. The graphs indicate that despite some inconsistency the local Intranet stayed connected.
“I looked at more graphs. The issue was outside Wits. My own assumption is that a fibre optic cable in the ground could have been cut resulting in the disconnection,” said Nagy.
Themba Motloung a third year education student said, “The last resort for me was to go to an internet café in Braamfontein, where I paid 50 rands to use the computer and print. I use a wheel chair and it was a strenuous journey travelling to Braamfontein Centre.”.
Barnato resident and third year engineering student Francis Chivhuta said he was unable to complete two assignements that were due on Monday.
“This is really unfair because missing deadline by a minute means minus 15%, and you can’t throw away marks like that,” he said.
CNS Acting Systems Director, Hanish Patel said he had no knowledge of the network disconnecting as he was away on sick leave.
“As far as I know the CNS did not plan any scheduled downtime, like we always do. I suspect something unexpectedly went wrong resulting in the downtime.”
The CNS will carry out further investigations with the technicians in an attempt to establish what caused the network disconnection.