• United States
by Staff

WorldCom’s UUNET takes a dive

Oct 07, 20023 mins

And other short items.

WorldCom’s UUNET network, one of the world’s biggest carriers of Internet traffic, suffered a major outage last week that slowed or disrupted service for customers, Internet providers and rival carriers worldwide.

Latency across WorldCom’s network was up around 900 msec throughout the day and packet loss exceeded 22%, according to Matrix Network Systems, a company that monitors Internet performance for enterprise users. The Internet typically operates with about 50 msec of latency and about 0.05% packet loss, says Tom Ohlsson, vice president of marketing and business development at Matrix.

The outage was significant because WorldCom operates 30% of the capacity on the 20 largest U.S. backbone routes. WorldCom’s network outage started Thursday at about 7 a.m. EST after technicians uploaded new software to the carrier’s border routers, Ohlsson says. WorldCom would not confirm these details for Network World, but Ohlsson says his group was given detailed information about the cause of the outage directly from the carrier.

Latency and packet loss started to improve late in the day. Matrix’s Ohlsson says this nine-hour network slowdown is “unprecedented in the brief but significant history of the Internet.” The event didn’t do anything to improve WorldCom’s image with already concerned customers who fear the carrier’s legal woes and personnel cutbacks are hurting its ability to provide top-notch services. WorldCom let up to 16,000 employees go after it filed for bankruptcy protection in July.

As if WorldCom’s outage wasn’t bad enough, Sprint Chairman and CEO William Esrey took a shot at the scandal-ridden carrier last week saying the accounting fraud that brought down WorldCom and tainted a number of telecom companies has left “a lingering stench that has poisoned our industry.” In a keynote address at Internet World Fall 2002, he said: “We kept asking ourselves what we were doing wrong because we couldn’t generate the numbers WorldCom reported. As we discovered, the margins were a hoax, but the devastating effect on our industry was very, very real.”

Veritas’ name might mean truth in Latin, but the storage software company’s CFO must have missed class that day. The software maker last week announced CFO Kenneth Lonchar was let go after it learned he had claimed falsely to have earned a master’s degree from Stanford University. Veritas said the discovery of Lonchar’s misrepresentation has no bearing on the accuracy or quality of its financial results.

Cisco CEO John Chambers was paid only $1 for running the network equipment giant in fiscal 2002, the company reported in its annual proxy statement to shareholders last week. Chambers requested his base salary be lowered to $1 in April 2001 as the company cut costs and laid off thousands of employees. Before the pay cut, he earned $268,131 in 2001. In 2000, the last full year before the pay cut, he earned $323,319. During the year that ended July 27, Chambers accepted 4 million stock options and declined 2 million. The options could be worthless unless Cisco’s stock meets certain targets.