Optus has revealed what caused last Wednesday’s unprecedented outage, which impacted millions of Aussies and businesses, including calls to Triple Zero.
Getting right into the thick of it: the Optus outage was reportedly caused by a routine software update.
As per 9News, Optus claimed that routers disconnected from its core network after a maintenance check.
“At around 4.05am Wednesday morning, the Optus network received changes to routing information from an international peering network following a routine software upgrade,” a spokesperson from Optus said, as per the publication.
“These routing information changes propagated through multiple layers in our network and exceeded preset safety levels on key routers which could not handle these.
“This resulted in those routers disconnecting from the Optus IP Core network to protect themselves.”
The spokesperson added that a number of these routers needed to be reset manually, hence why it took yonks — 14 hours, to be specific — for the system to be fixed.
“The restoration required a large-scale effort of the team and in some cases required Optus to reconnect or reboot routers physically, requiring the dispatch of people across a number of sites in Australia,” the spokesperson continued.
“This is why restoration was progressive over the afternoon.
“Given the widespread impact of the outage, investigations into the issue took longer than we would have liked as we examined several different paths to restoration.
“The restoration of the network was at all times our priority and we subsequently established the cause working together with our partners.
“We have made changes to the network to address this issue so that it cannot occur again.”
What did the Optus outage affect?
The ABC reported that an Optus Outage first began around 4am on Wednesday, November 8. Mobile phones on the network were unable to make or receive calls or use mobile internet and NBN services.
At 6.47am, Optus released a statement to X, formerly Twitter, confirming that services were down.
A couple of hours after the statement was published, Melbourne’s public health medical provider, Northern Health, said it was impacted by the outage.
“This includes phone lines into Northern Hospital Epping, Broadmeadows Hospital, Bundoora Centre, Craigieburn Centre, Kilmore District Hospital, and Victorian Virtual Emergency Department (VVED),” it said, per The Guardian.
Melbourne’s train services were briefly at a stand-still due to the network outage, leaving commuters stranded until a backup system was put in place.
At 10.17am, Optus took to X again, confirming that calls to emergency services through Triple Zero will not work through Optus-connected landlines.
We encourage any customers who need to contact emergency services to use a mobile line to call 000.— Optus Help (@optus_help) November 7, 2023
Optus can confirm that Triple zero (“000”) calls will not work from an Optus landline (fixed line telephone). Mobile calls to 000 will work if another carrier is available.
On Wednesday evening — at 8.02pm — Optus made a final update on X, claiming that the network “has been restored and most services should now be back online”.
A day after the Optus outage, the Federal Government announced it would be investigating the major incident. In response, the Optus spokesperson said that the company “will support and fully cooperate with the reviews being undertaken by the government and the Senate.”