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Connectivity

Effect of internet breakage on Stellenbosch University

Monday, January 20th, 2020

The current internet speed problems that South Africans are experiencing, has been front page news since last Thursday.

How does it affect the University community?

The short answer is that in most cases, we don’t see any degradation in network performance at all. How is this possible, one may ask? The answer lies in the redundant design of our international circuits, as implemented and managed by TENET, the service provider for the tertiary education sector. When a particular network circuit is broken for some reason, like the West African cable (WACS) in the current situation, the university traffic is seamlessly re-routed via another circuit, Seacom, running along the East Africa coastline. Obviously, the risk of total network failure is enlarged by the current unavailability of WACS (and SAT3), but up to now our services remained available without  a hiccup. This can be seen from the following graphs, which show constant traffic flow for the past week, 100% interface availability of the network, spare capacity available and zero network errors reported.

Other network service providers often don’t have this level of redundancy available, and may be more seriously affected. That is why ISP’s like Axxess, Afrihost and others are struggling, and why some users experience communication problems at home, or using other networks than the campus network. Apparently the Whatsapp performance problems are unrelated to the internet problems described above.

When will this situation normalise? The WACS cable will be attended to by a repair ship currently stuck in Cape Town harbour, waiting for the strong winds to calm down. TENET’s estimation is that it may happen as late as early February.

For regular updates, follow TENET’s alerts on Twitter.

Click for larger image

TENET internet usage graphs

 

Internet outage: Feedback

Friday, October 4th, 2019

Early on Thursday morning we were notified by our internet provider, TENET, that there has been a break in internet connection between UWC and SUN. This caused an internet outage on the entire SU network for most of the morning.

Technicians were immediately dispatched to the site and after investigating, established that the infrastructure has been vandalised and the fibre cable cut. Maintenance then proceeded to replace the damaged equipment and restore connectivity. Unfortunately both primary and secondary links were compromised and also had to repair the backup link.

We apologise for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience. During incidents such as these please remember to follow our Twitter feed where we will post regular updates.

 

IT maintenance

Monday, August 5th, 2019

Over the following few weeks Information Technology will be conducting maintenance on servers and systems over specific weekends and some downtime can be expected. 

Weekend of 31 August: Critical maintenance will be taking place on Saturday, 31 August, from 07:00 to Sunday, 1 September, 13:00. During this period a large number of functions and applications will temporarily be unavailable. This includes, among others, Financial Services; Student Administration Services; meal bookings; ePayments; schedules; password change and eApplications. SUNLearn will not be influenced by this maintenance.

Weekend of 6 September: Quarterly, scheduled maintenance will be taking place from Friday, 6 September 22:00 until Monday, 9 September at 08:00. A wide range of systems and services will not be available during this time.

Due to the extent of this maintenance and the necessity for thorough testing of systems and services the possibility exists for continued interruptions into the new week.

Please rest assured that we will try our best to limit interruptions to a minimum. For inquiries please contact the IT Service Desk at 021 808 4367 or log a request on the ICT Partner Portal.

IT maintenance: Feedback

Friday, July 19th, 2019

During both the weekends of 18 June and 12 July Information Technology carried out essential maintenance on various servers and systems. In both cases we encountered problems which caused some systems and services to be unavailable over the weekend, as well as into the following week. These outages were mainly caused by ageing technology and complex inter-dependencies between systems which make 100% availability difficult to achieve.

All systems and services have since been restored and are all once again online. We realise that disruptions such as these impact directly on the productivity of, and services to, our staff and students and although we try to limit them to a minimum, sometimes complexity has unpredictable consequences. We apologise for the inconvenience during these downtimes and can assure you that we try our best to ensure optimal service.

For inquiries please contact the IT Service Desk at 021 808 4367 or log a request on the ICT Partner Portal

Update: Services temporarily restored

Monday, July 15th, 2019

Essential emergency maintenance to replace a faulty memory module was conducted on Saturday from 07:00 to 12:00. During the process it was discovered that there are additional hardware problems and this caused several services not to be available.

However, our IT staff succeeded in restoring essential core services on a temporary basis late last night. The final restore and replacement of the faulty hardware will take place at a later stage.

We apologise for the inconvenience. For inquiries please contact the IT Service Desk at 021 808 4367 or log a request on the ICT Partner Portal.

 

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