United routes root of outage to router

Cisco says it's offering help; NYSE, WSJ glitches unrelated?

United Airlines blamed a router problem for disrupting service and halting flights for over an hour today. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, the airline said the problem “degraded network connectivity for various applications.” The airline halted flights from 8:26 AM EST until 9:47 AM, after which operations were back to normal, United said.

+MORE ON NETWORK WORLD: NYSE suffers hours-long outage due to computer issues+

In queries to major router vendors, Cisco said United is a customer but would not say if its router was involved. It did say it learned of the outage from social media and online reporting, and offered assistance to the airline. 

“Cisco’s top priority is the satisfaction and support of our customers,” a company spokesperson said. “Cisco has reached out to United Airlines and is ready to provide whatever product or service support required.”

The spokesperson said he wasn’t sure if Cisco was “actively engaged” in the repair.

Alcatel-Lucent and Juniper both separately said United is not a direct customer, and “to the best of our knowledge” the companies' routers were not at fault.

Network World is also awaiting comment from United.

United was one of three organizations plagued by technical problems today, leading some to wonder if something more nefarious was going on. The New York Stock Exchange halted trading late Wednesday morning as an “internal technical issue” related to a software rollout forced a shutdown.

NYSE said it was not due to a cyberattack and there’s no indication the two events are related. NYSE said trading was restored after over three hours of downtime.

From what the NYSE said in alerts it posted to traders, the problem was with three gateways traders use to buy and sell stocks. Service to two was restored but the third was offline until tomorrow, an alert says.

The NYSE posted a flurry of tweets on Twitter starting shortly after noon giving only a sketchy outline of what was happening:

= We’re experiencing a technical issue that we’re working to resolve as quickly as possible.

= We're doing our utmost to produce a swift resolution & will be providing further updates as soon as we can.

= The issue we are experiencing is an internal technical issue and is not the result of a cyber breach.

= We chose to suspend trading on NYSE to avoid problems arising from our technical issue.

= NYSE-listed securities continue to trade unaffected on other market centers.

The Wall Street Journal’s website also experienced a brief outage Wednesday with service restored by 1 PM EST.

A WSJ spokesperson issued the following statement via email when asked whether the outage was linked to the NYSE network problems and the United Airlines network connectivity issues: “Earlier today, the WSJ.com home page experienced an outage for less than an hour beginning at approximately 11:45am ET. The site is back up and running with full functionality and the cause is being investigated.”

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