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February 27, 2013 - 7:53pm

Malfunction at statewide Internet provider left University disconnected


Tuesday night, right in the midst of midterms week, Internet campus wide went down.

Rob Belinski, a representative for Information and Technology Services operations, confirmed Tuesday that students on University computers would be able to access CTools, and Wolverine Access because they are housed on the University's intranet, which is powered by local servers. However, any non-University websites were not accessible.

Although University email can be accessed, it appeared that no mail can be received or sent.

During the outage, the Internet was not connected to the University server, making CTools and Wolverine Access inaccessible to outside users. Belinski gave no estimated time of when the Internet will be fixed. He said the problem stems from Merit Network, an Ann Arbor-based Internet Service Provider for Michigan's public universities.

"We've got all hands on deck, we're trying to figure it out," said Merit CEO Donald Welch.

Welch was not immediately able to determine the source of the issue, but said Merit was experiencing "a lot" of problems. He said the issue started at around 11 p.m.

Michigan State University, Eastern Michigan University, Grand Valley State University and Washtenaw Community College also all experienced technical issues.

Internet was fully restored at 4:52 a.m. Wednesday. Elwood Downing, a spokeswoman for Merit Network, said the company’s technicians determined the source of the issue was at one of Merit's core routers located in Chicago, where Merit engineers were able to determine the core router was not forwarding the packets to the greater internet.

Once the company discovered the issue, Downing said the engineers moved everything over manually to another path.

Downing said the problem only affected a small percentage of people Merit Network serves, as the malfunction occurred after normal business hours. She added that Merit engineers are reviewing the incident further to determine if it was a hardware or software malfunction at the core router.

— Daily News Editors Alicia Adamczyk and Taylor Wizner contributed to this report.