Australian telecom giant Optus has disclosed that a significant network blackout, which left 40% of the country’s population disconnected, was the result of changes in routing information following a routine software upgrade, as per Reuters reporting. The Singapore Telecommunications-owned company faced intense scrutiny due to the outage on Nov. 8, which affected over 10 million Australians.
The network failure led to 12 hours of intense customer frustration, sparking concerns over the robustness of Australia’s telecommunications infrastructure. The incident sparked a national conversation about the reliability of essential digital services.
Optus investigation reveals technical glitches
Optus stated that an initial probe found the outage was triggered by changes to routing information from an international peering network early that morning, post a standard software upgrade. Unexpectedly spreading through multiple network layers, these changes overwhelmed key routers. This then caused them to disconnect from the Optus IP Core network for self-protection.
The magnitude of reconnecting was so substantial that Optus personnel had to physically reconnect or reboot routers at various locations. This labor-intensive process contributed to the prolonged duration of the network outage and the investigation.
In response to this incident, Optus has implemented changes to its network to prevent a recurrence of such an issue. The company emphasized its commitment to addressing the root cause of the problem to ensure that it cannot happen again, seeking to restore customer trust and reinforce the stability of its services.
Broader implications of network outage for telecom industry
The Optus network blackout underlines the critical importance of rigorous testing and monitoring of software updates in the telecommunications sector. It also highlights the need for robust contingency plans to swiftly address unexpected technical disruptions.