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Network World - The crime scenes last February in rural Sweden looked remarkably similar despite being 90 miles apart. The perpetrators appeared to have entered through the smallest of cracks. Footprints dotted the snow. Each case claimed more than a thousand victims.
And then, there were the telltale teeth marks.
Forum: When animals attack
What about you? Have you ever found fried rodents where your Ethernet cable used to be?
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Our collection of stories that go beyond the speeds and feeds of the network and IT industries.
No doubt about it: Field mice had done the dirty deeds.
TeliaSonera, a Stockholm telecom carrier, suffered two nearly daylong network outages that caused roughly 4,000 wireline and wireless customers' phones to go quiet as, well, the mice. The company squarely laid the blame at the tiny paws of rodents that the Swedes call sorks.
The outages were maddening in that they were caused by the animals gnawing through fiber-optic cables after shimmying through 2-centimeter-wide gaps between cement valves and locks designed to protect the phone lines from animals and forces of nature, says Arne Duvberg, chief technician at Flextronics Network Services, a company that maintains TeliaSonera's networks in the region.
And don't even get him started on birds.
"We have to send out service men on a daily basis to take care of the damage being made by the woodpeckers," he says.
TeliaSonera by far wasn't the first network operator to get caught in a mousetrap and won't be the last. Just how common animal attacks on networks are, though, is hard to pinpoint. One estimate, cited by author Robert Sullivan in his 2004 book "Rats" (in which he monitors a New York City alley for a year), is that 18% of all phone-cable disruptions are caused by rats. But others say the frequency of animal-related damage is much lower. AT&T, for example, figures less than 1% of all its outages are caused by rodents.
Despite the shortage of statistics, anecdotal evidence of nature vs. network run-ins abounds:
Rodents are considered especially threatening to network cabling.