IP transit channel feature
London Power Failure Impacts IP Transit
A recent power failure in London proves that even the most relied-on IP transit services can be taken down. The Level 3 Communications (News - Alert) data center in London suffered a power failure, which knocked as many as 50 businesses offline for nearly seven hours. Also hit was a company called Adapt, a collocation provider.
According to this ZDNet report, the power failure hit the businesses hard as the area affected is a high-traffic connectivity point for Level 3. ISP LCHost, even though it isn’t serviced through Level 3, was also affected. The company has a connection to BT’s (News - Alert) network that passes through Level 3, which is why it went down, too.
IP transit allows network traffic to jump from one provider to another, often from a smaller provider to one larger. In a system like Level 3, it operates in a settlement-free interconnection configuration.
The power outage made a splash in industry news because Level 3 is an operator of one of the largest IP transit networks in the world, relegated as one of six Tier 1 Internet providers across the globe. The outage had many in the industry questioning why Level 3 operates with only one power feed.
In fact, Level 3 has diesel-powered generators at its London facility as well as hybrid rotary power supply units meant to provide backup power. According to Level 3, however, the supposed uninterruptable power supplies (UPS) were faulty.
The UPS’s busbar, which is made of copper or aluminum strips that help distribute electricity evenly throughout a data center, was at the root of the problem. When the busbar blew out, the disruption cut AC power supply and the IP transit capabilities were lost at that point.
Level 3 administrators say they have taken care of the issue and are working with clients to consider any “effects to service provision.” As the Internet evolves, Level 3 continuously evaluates its traffic policy and holds to the belief that exchange agreements should be fair and equitable.
The company recognizes that the most frequent traffic is high-speed IP transit exchange. Companies that want clear lines of global Internet routes choose Level 3’s high-speed IP transit services.
Fortunately for Level 3, the power outage began at 3:35 a.m., a time when the business world in London was still sleeping. Many arrived to work without an Internet connection, however, as IP transit connectivity wasn’t restored until 8:30 a.m. at the earliest in some locations, demonstrating the difficulty that results from complete reliance on connectivity.
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Edited by Rachel Ramsey
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