Bay area ISPs take a hit

It was tough enough being a commuter in San Francisco yesterday, with a morning rush-hour power outage shutting down public transportation and traffic lights, but it had to be worse for Webmasters without backup power.

According to the Internet Weather report, an online site that tracks uptime and packet loss among local and national Internet service providers, several San Francisco Bay Area Internet service providers suffered serious downtime from the outage.

CRL Network Services lost service at 8:15 a.m. At 8:30 a.m. the service resumed when a backup power supply kicked in, but services were lost promptly 15 minutes later, and remained out for a time.

A spokesperson confirmed the outage, but said the problems were not network-wide, affecting primarily dial-up customers. CRL has about 15,000 such customers. (But dial-up customers outside of San Francisco could still dial in if their local Internet point of presence was outside of the city, according to CRL.) Another local ISP, GeoNet, experienced the outage at 8:15 a.m., and had not managed to get its service back online at the time of publication, according to the Internet Weather report.

However, San Francisco ISP Best Internet, with dial-up access and co-location facilities for hosting Web sites and business services, experienced no downtime, thanks to 72-hour diesel-powered backup generators. According to Chris Robbins at Best, in the event of a major catastrophe, the company can run as long as it has fuel to run the generators.

"Web sites run in-house usually only have a 15 to 30 minute UPS (uninterruptible power supply) backup, and that's only meant to be used for maintenance work," says Robbins. "A lot of Web guys I know around town are scrambling to find an answer."

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