Australian telecommunications giant Optus revealed that a major network outage, which left 40% of the country’s population disconnected, was the result of changes in routing information following a routine software upgrade, according to Reuters . report. The Singapore Telecommunications-owned company has come under scrutiny due to the November 8 outage, which affected more than 10 million Australians.
The network outage led to 12 hours of intense customer frustration, sparking concerns about the robustness of Australia’s telecommunications infrastructure. The incident sparked a national conversation about reliability essential digital services.
Optus investigation reveals technical problems
Optus said an initial investigation found the outage was triggered by changes to an international peering network’s routing information early in the morning, after a standard software upgrade. Propagating unexpectedly through multiple layers of the network, these changes overwhelmed major routers. This then led them to disconnect from the Optus IP Core network to protect themselves.
The scale of the reconnection was so significant that Optus staff had to physically reconnect or reboot routers in different locations. This labor-intensive process contributed to the prolonged duration of the network outage and investigation.
In response to this incident, Optus has implemented changes to its network to prevent such an issue from happening again. The company stressed its commitment to tackling the root cause of the problem to ensure it does not happen again, seeking to restore customer confidence and strengthen the stability of its services.
Wider implications of a network outage for the telecommunications industry
The Optus network outage highlights 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 quickly address unexpected technical disruptions.