UPDATE: Cisco confirms its network gear caused Duke's iPhone flooding

Cisco confirmed that the networking problem Duke University experienced involving Cisco's wireless network and Apple's iPhone was caused by a Cisco network issue. Cisco says it has worked closely with Duke and Apple to identify the source of the problem.

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A two-sentence e-mail from a Cisco PR spokeswoman to Network World confirmed the problem was caused by a “Cisco-based network issue.”

“Cisco has provided a fix that has been applied to Duke's network and the problem has not occurred since,” according to the e-mail.

No other details were provided, and no reply has been received yet to an e-mail and two phone requests to Cisco for more details. No additional details have been provided by Duke University or by Apple.

The wireless problem crystallized exactly a week ago, on Friday, July 13 as it happens, when Duke’s IT staff identified the source of intermittent floods of Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) requests as at least two Apple iPhones connecting via the phone’s built in wireless LAN adapter to Duke’s campus-wide net. The ARP floods, up to 30,000 requests per second, knocked offline sometimes as many as 30 access points, for between 10 and 15 minutes.

That conclusion was based on an early analysis of traffic trace data by Duke IT staff. Kevin Miller, assistant director, communications infrastructure, with Duke’s Office of Information Technology, was firmly convinced that the iPhone was the instigator. “I don’t believe it’s a Cisco problem in any way, shape, or form,” he said at the time.

The Cisco spokeswoman’s e-mail said Cisco ” worked closely with Duke and Apple to identify the source of this problem.”

They had plenty of help, from amateurs, experts and would-be experts who debated the possible causes, and assigned blame, in online forums at NetworkWorld.com and dozens of other Web sites.

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