Telstra Blames Outages On Dodgy Modems And DNS

Telstra has shed some more light on the reasons behind its recent NBN and ADSL outages, telling customers their modems' firmware and a bug in the telco's network-level DNS is to blame.

First detailed in a Telstra Exchange blog post a few days ago, Australia's biggest telco — which is confident that the issue as it stands has been resolved — blames "a fault with the device that manages the interaction between our network and all of the different types of customer modems." While the issue has been fixed, the follow-on effects continue to be felt by a small subset of customers.

The issue was that a software update to Telstra's own internal DNS server brought it down unexpectedly, which effectively killed off the telco's fixed broadband network. That cascade then brought to light a bug with certain firmwares on certain customer modems, iTnews reports, kicking them offline and causing them to reset.

A more recent Exchange post goes into more detail on the issue. Customers were required in almost all cases to reset their models to factory settings, but some are still having issues that require a replacement modem be shipped out and installed. The root cause of the problem was one small change among 800 made that day — something Telstra says is typical for a regular night of updates to its fixed line network.

Telstra says its customers will be reimbursed for their troubles with a $25 credit to their monthly bills, rather than the "free data day" that the telco has doled out to mobile customers in the past few months. This is the fourth network outage for Telstra in 2016 so far, a year uncharacteristically frought with trouble, but the first happening on its fixed-line network.

All of these consequences have been unexpected and we are looking into what we can do to prevent them from happening again. Some of the modems did not respond in the way they’re designed to do, and we expect we’ll be able to address that through a software update. We’ll also be addressing the network fault itself.

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