from Dave Thornley, IS&T
This is an update and explanation for the internet connection issues which have affected staff and students over the last few days. SHU’s internet connection (provided by JISC and known as JANET) is shared between Universities and Colleges across the UK. At the weekend, one circuit connecting Sheffield to JANET was broken and our link, along with Sheffield University’s and a number of colleges, was affected – slightly on Friday, more noticeably on Saturday and seriously on Sunday morning. By early afternoon on Sunday, things seemed to be up and running again. This was because JISC switched to the back-up route for the connection until the first link could be repaired. It appears that yesterday morning before repairs to the first link were completed, something happened which damaged that back-up route affecting our internet again for the rest of the day. By the end of yesterday, the original fault had been repaired and services were running again – although, because the back-up route is still faulty our connection will still be at risk of further problems.
In the world of IT, faults happen – inevitably and frequently – but most of the time we manage these by building resilience into our IT services to avoid impacting our services. Currently, the JANET network in Sheffield is operating without that resilience. We hope to hear that the repairs are complete later today but, until that time, please be prepared for more possible disruption to IT services.
We are, as a University, (and most of us, individually) heavily dependent on IT to do our jobs and run our lives. SHU has a strong and robust and resilient network which has been thoroughly tested but we are dependent on external providers for some of our services and we must not forget that technology is vulnerable – especially now when cyber-attack is an increasing risk. Every area should have contingency arrangements in place to prevent IT issues affecting our ability to work. Most of these have worked well and we appreciate everyone’s assistance in making sure they are properly understood by staff and students. Thank you also to staff in IS&T who put in extra time over the weekend and through the evenings to assess and manage the impact on our customers and work with our suppliers to resolve the problems.
Our service status page and our @ITStatusSHU twitter feed give continual updates on any issues affecting IT Services and you can check these for the latest information on the current situation.
We understand that these problems will have caused inconvenience over the past few days and are anxious that everything be restored as quickly as possible. Thank you for your patience while we work with our suppliers on this.
Further update as of 12 noon today:
JISC has notified us that the faults have been repaired and tested so our internet connection should be back to normal. Thank you for bearing with this.