BC experiences multiple-day network and system outages

Bellevue College experienced two days of persistent technical difficulties, beginning Thursday, Feb. 22. The Bellevue College director of technology support services, Jason Aqui, sent out an email that day detailing what was affected by the network outages.
The IT services impacted included the main campus wireless network and the north campus wireless network, as well as the main and north campus printing services. The Bellevue College website was also impacted, making it difficult for some students to register for classes because the website was inaccessible.
Although the email sent by Jason Aqui said that they expected the system to be up and running again by noon the same day, the problems continued until late on Feb. 23.
That day, an update was sent out by Interim Chief Information Officer Mary Kay Wegner, informing the students and faculty that the network outages and impacts were now stabilized and that the IT team would continue to look into the issues throughout the weekend.
The following week, the IT team worked to answer questions and respond to complaints, but did not have any information regarding the root cause to share until Wednesday, Feb. 28.
An email sent by Wegner disclosing the new information that they found was sent out to Bellevue College staff and faculty at 7:54 a.m. that day.
The email shed light on the root cause or causes of the network and system outages. “The root cause(s) of the network event late last week had to do with a configuration setting in a new network device not communicated to our technical team by the device vendor, in combination with inexplicable behavior occurring at the same time by an unrelated device.”
In the email, Wegner went on to say, “Essentially, the BC network was flooded with errant network traffic.”
As the issues were not due to any external sources, such as viruses or hacking, Bellevue College students and faculty are assured that no specific data or information was targeted or compromised.
Fortunately for students, Canvas was not affected by the outages, but that is not to say that they had no impact on students’ productivity.
Because the printers were down on the north and main campus, students were unable to print assignments without leaving campus. Some teachers, realizing this, extended homework due dates for their classes, a welcome relief for some.
The IT team kept Bellevue College students and staff updated through frequent emails over the duration of time in which the network and system outages occurred, making it easy for everyone to know what was going on.
All systems are now stabilized and seem to be in perfect working order. In a final email on the issue, Wegner said, “Thanks to everyone for your patience during this event, and to those who contacted us to report issues and provide information that was critical in identifying and addressing specific and aggregate impacts. We look forward to working with you to further validate any network or system access questions.”