2005/02/16 - Core Switch Reboot
The switch that serves as the core of the University's network will be rebooted at approximately 8AM on Wednesday 16th February. As this switch provides backbone services to the whole campus ALL users of the University's network, both on and off campus, will be affected by this.

It is expected that the switch will take about five minutes to boot, during which time users will not be able to access any network services outside of their local subnet.

Possible side effects of this outage include:
  • Computers that are switched on, or attempt to renew their DHCP lease, whilst the network is unavailable may not be able to determine their IP address. In these cases, the problem can be corrected by rebooting the machine once networking is restored.
  • Web browsers that attempt to automatically detect their proxy settings whilst the network is unavailable may not find the correct settings. This can be corrected by restarting the web browser once local Rhodes websites become accessable again.
  • Any local services running on users' computers that rely on information obtained from the network (DNS, NTP, etc) may not start correctly or may stop working during the outage. The solution in these cases is to either restart the affected services or reboot the computer.
  • There is a small chance that some of the regional switching centres may not correctly re-establish links with the core switch. We will be monitoring the network for this sort of thing, but in the unlikely event that networking in your part of campus isn't restored correctly after an extended period of time, please contact User Support on extension 8288. Please only do this, however, after you've determined that the problem is affecting all users in your building rather than just your computer.
Services such as e-mail, web and Internet access will be unaffected by this outage save for the fact that they'll be inaccessible for a short time. Normal service will resume as soon as the core switch finishes its boot cycle.

For those of you who're interested, the reason for this course of action is to allow us to accurately determine the cause of the network outage in Eden Grove during registration last week. We normally try and avoid rebooting the core switch because of its huge impact on the network. Unfortunately, however, it appears as if the gigabit fibre optic port that used to supply Eden Grove is faulty. We've attempted replacing the GBIC and run several diagnostic tests and as a result we've come to the conclusion that the problem lies within the blade of the core switch. These blades are incredibly expensive (in the order of R100,000 for eight ports) and so we'd like to properly understand what's gone wrong before we consider ordering a replacement. At this stage we're not sure whether the fault is hardware or software related. The reboot will hopefully determine this for us. We're expecting one of two things to happen. Either the fault will rectify itself, proving that it is software related, or the port will carry on failing, proving that it is a hardware problem. The core switch was last rebooted 182 days ago as a result of an extended power failure in Struben building.
Courtesy of Makana Municipality and this morning's power cut, this is no longer necessary. The core switch was rebooted during the power outage. You can safely ignore this message.