Computer glitches inconvenience Ohio U. students, faculty : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Updated 12:00 PM ET January 13, 2000

By Amanda Metcalf The Post Ohio U.

(U-WIRE) ATHENS, Ohio -- Those having trouble gaining access to the Internet or Oak include faculty, staff, students and administration - anyone who tries to get online from an on-campus site.

The worst outage happened last Tuesday afternoon, said Doug Mann, associate provost for information technology. A glitch also occurred Wednesday before 8 a.m. "at the worst possible time," he said.

To prevent future glitches, CNS will designate someone to check the system before 8 a.m. every day to make sure everything is working, said Tom Reid, director of CNS.

But the problem does not stem from individual computers or OU property.

An OU server provides a temporary address, called an Internet Protocol, to a computer signing online. But glitches occur when the list of addresses on the server becomes corrupt and an address cannot be assigned to the computer, Mann said.

Without that temporary IP address, the machine can't function on the Internet or Oak, Mann said.

The corruption could come from a software client in the OU network as it communicates with the server. Both Mann and Reid said the corruption is unintentional.

"We're working to make the server more reliable," Mann said. "It needs to be 100 percent."

The solution lies in the servers and in the vendors that provide the servers and software. In OU's case, the vendor is the California-based company Join.

"It's the job of the vendor to make the server bullet-proof," Mann said.

Yesterday the software was reconfigured by Join to assign an IP address for a 24-hour period rather than each time a computer tries to get online. That IP address, a kind of key to the Internet, lasts for 24 hours or until the computer is turned off or restarted, Mann said.

Under this software, less communication between an individual computer and the server occurs per day. But the problem still remains if the server is down when a computer originally tries to gain access.

One possibility is to have two servers back each other up, but the problem may lie in the instability of that kind of server, Mann said. In that case, two servers do not solve the problem.

After a conference call yesterday afternoon between CNS and Join representatives, CNS made a decision to upgrade the software. The upgrade to make the server more reliable will happen this weekend.

Reid said he does not expect any more inconveniences.

Sophomore Melissa Walls, a resident of Gamertsfelder Hall, said she has noticed more problems this quarter than last.

"A lot of times it will get online and then stop," she said. "The screen will just freeze."

Sometimes she can just exit the program. Other times she has to restart her computer. But the situation has not been too much of an inconvenience, Walls said.

"I have a pretty sporadic schedule," she said, "and if I come back in 15 minutes it usually works."

(C) 2000 The Post via U-WIRE

-- Homer Beanfang (, January 14, 2000


From the information provided, I assume that their DHCP server database is being corrupted. This should not be a major problem (i.e. nothing that a little money couldn't solve.

Does anyone happen to know what they are using for DHCP software and hardware?

-- Arnie Rimmer (, January 14, 2000.

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