AFN down for much of Friday

Managers of the Ashland Fiber Network pulled their service offline at midnight, going into Friday with the intention of reconfiguring and rewiring the system for greater bandwidth — and thinking it would be about a four-hour job and everything would be up and running in the wee hours, with no one noticing.

It didn't happen that way.

AFN, serving 4,200 modems in the Ashland area, had repeated equipment failures, requiring it to shut down all modems and try to boot them all up again, over and over, a process that went on until well into the afternoon Friday.

As a result, AFN had to go back to square one and stay there — just trying to get all modems operating with the old configuration, said city financial director Lee Tuneberg, who is filling in as assistant city administrator and AFN chief.

"This was not one of our better days," says Tuneberg. "The phones were ringing off the hook all day. We were trying to optimize the system and the job didn't get done and we really apologize. When we get this done, you will realize faster, better service."

Tuneberg said that, technologically speaking, the problem came with "rewiring the head end and the combiners that provide bandwidth service," something that Information Technology chief Michael Ainsworth could describe if he weren't busy fixing it.

AFN technicians were unable to identify and trouble-shoot the areas where the failures were happening, he said, adding that each attempt to fix the problem failed, requiring that the system had to be halted, fixed again and rebooted.

The failures meant all ISPs using AFN also were offline, he says. All were restored by 4 p.m. Friday

"At this point, it's back to the drawing board. We need information from all the ISPs and we need to debrief everybody about what they experienced," says Tuneberg. "The question now is who didn't suffer (outage) and why."

The failures also took out the Internet on smart phones if users have discontinued landlines and run phones through the internet, he said.

While hundreds of AFN customers were calling city hall "upset about why all my stuff is gone," city employees, according to staff in the city administrator's office, are on a separate server from the rest of the community and didn't see any interruption from the Internet. City police dispatch also said communications were normal.

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