University of Dallas Wi-Fi went down across campus for several hours Tuesday, Sept. 4. Despite rumors that it was the work of a hacker, a power outage was the true cause of the problem.
The outage created havoc around campus, affecting not only hand held devices and laptops but the school’s printing lab and computers as well.
“It wasn’t just the Wi-Fi, it was a lot of things,” said Information Technology (IT) Director Rick Hayter. “There was a short power outage [Monday] evening, long enough to trigger the [uninterruptible power supply] (UPS), which is our backup standby power for our data center.”
When the UPS system failed, the data center equipment rebooted, but at different times.
“It took us a while to get all that equipment back in sync,” Hayter said.
Hayter expects this was an isolated problem that should not arise again.
During and after the service outage, rumors spread throughout campus that a student hacker had taken out the Wi-Fi.
During the power outage, when some users tried to connect to the internet, multiple insecure network servers popped up, with messages reading “Haha I took down the internet,” according to sophomore Gwendolyn Loop.
Hayter said the IT department was not affected in any way by a hacker, and though they had heard the rumors, the department didn’t even know about the rumors until later, because it was not an issue.
“That was maybe some interim time where [our servers] weren’t really up yet and someone put up a [hoax],” Hayter said.
UD has had other Wi-Fi outages this year.
Hayter said there had been a “couple of widespread network outages in the last couple of months,” according to a March 4, 2018 article by The University News.
The Wi-Fi outage affected the entire UD community but was especially daunting for incoming freshmen experiencing their first few weeks of college life.
“For two of my professors, I had two papers due that night, and I couldn’t email the papers to them” said Robert Baxley, a freshman drama major.
Not all students were concerned for such academic reasons.
“The most inconvenient thing was that I couldn’t play League of Legends all day,” said freshman Jack Ortwerth.
Ortwerth added that he was “crushed” by the downed server.