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Comcast Suffers Major East Coast Outage
DNS server related, no explanation given
by Karl Bode 08:35AM Monday Nov 29 2010
As this four page thread in our Comcast forum documents, Comcast suffered a major network outage around Boston and a huge chunk of the east coast on Sunday. Judging from user posts, it appears to have been a DNS problem -- resolved by switching to an alternative DNS server (something to try if you're still having problems). Some users in our forums indicate the problem seems to be resolved for them, but Comcast's official Twitter accounts haven't been updated since last night -- when the company had no ETA or explanation for what caused the outage. It's unfortunate for Comcast, given they've been beefing up DNS services to try and keep users from switching to OpenDNS, and every outage of this kind is simply free advertising for the alternative DNS operator.

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Ga Dawg

join:2003-09-11
Marietta, GA

Serves them right

Given Comcast's history with DNS servers, I have no sympathy for users still using Comcast for DNS.

chamberc
Premium
join:2008-08-05
Irving, TX

Re: Serves them right

99.9% of their customers have no idea what DNS is.

LeftOfSanity
People Suck.

join:2005-11-06
Dover, DE
said by Ga Dawg:

Given Comcast's history with DNS servers, I have no sympathy for users still using Comcast for DNS.

What history? Do you mean that time 4 or 5 years ago when it was sporadic for a few days?

Or that time when they were hacked?

Other than that, not sure what you mean.
MRCUR

join:2007-03-09
Columbia, PA
Have to agree with you here.

syslock
Premium
join:2007-02-03
La La Land
Exactly... Been burnt way too many times in the past!

RichInConn

@mycingular.net

Status Page

During the outage last night I checked the Comcast network status page. The status page showed that all was well and no problems existed. If that page can't even be relied on during such a major outage, what good is it?

Switching gears... I wonder if the outage was a result of something going wrong for them while making changes to prevent us from using alternate dns servers. It seems to be too much of a coincidence.

LeftOfSanity
People Suck.

join:2005-11-06
Dover, DE

Re: Status Page

said by RichInConn :

During the outage last night I checked the Comcast network status page. The status page showed that all was well and no problems existed. If that page can't even be relied on during such a major outage, what good is it?

Switching gears... I wonder if the outage was a result of something going wrong for them while making changes to prevent us from using alternate dns servers. It seems to be too much of a coincidence.

What are you talking about?

Where did you get that they are going to be preventing anyone from using alternative DNS?

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

1 edit

Re: Status Page

said by LeftOfSanity:

said by RichInConn :

During the outage last night I checked the Comcast network status page. The status page showed that all was well and no problems existed. If that page can't even be relied on during such a major outage, what good is it?

Switching gears... I wonder if the outage was a result of something going wrong for them while making changes to prevent us from using alternate dns servers. It seems to be too much of a coincidence.

What are you talking about?

Where did you get that they are going to be preventing anyone from using alternative DNS?

Because there was a bogus complaint against Verizon Wireless last week about blocking OpenDNS highlighted here and obviously if one ACCUSATION is made against 1 ISP, then all ISPs are plotting the same thing.
»Verizon blocking OpenDNS is bogus claim

Re: Status Page

said by FFH5:

said by LeftOfSanity:

said by RichInConn :

During the outage last night I checked the Comcast network status page. The status page showed that all was well and no problems existed. If that page can't even be relied on during such a major outage, what good is it?

Switching gears... I wonder if the outage was a result of something going wrong for them while making changes to prevent us from using alternate dns servers. It seems to be too much of a coincidence.

What are you talking about?

Where did you get that they are going to be preventing anyone from using alternative DNS?

Because there was a bogus complaint against Verizon Wireless last week about blocking OpenDNS highlighted here and obviously if one ACCUSATION is made against 1 ISP, then all ISPs are plotting the same thing.
»Verizon blocking OpenDNS is bogus claim

I'm sorry for the confusion. I'm not usually that stupid. Thanks for the correction.

-Rich

Fluker

join:2005-04-07
West Lafayette, IN

DNS outage

I had no idea that their DNS went down last night.

.. Or that they prevent you from using OpenDNS

Uncle Paul

join:2003-02-04
USA
kudos:1

Outage?

I didn't suffer an outage... oh yea... I switched to OpenDNS years ago. I believe every time Comcast pulls one of these a new flock of users make the migration.

beachintech
There's sand in my tool bag
Premium
join:2008-01-06
kudos:5

Uh, fact check Karl?

nevermind

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Create DNS string using alternate company's servers

Whenever a DNS problem occurs, I never see a problem. Router is set up to alternate DNS servers:
Comcast DNS server
Sprint DNS server
2nd Comcast DNS server
Google DNS server

In fact, When I read about a DNS outage, it is usually the 1st time I've heard about it. With a setup like above I don't have to do any emergency adjustments to DNS settings. But by keeping the Comcast DNS server 1st in the list I get fastest response 99.99% of the time and get automatic failover the rare times there is a Comcast DNS server outage.

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: Create DNS string using alternate company's servers

News item says outage in Baltimore & Boston areas:

»www.baltimoresun.com/business/te···05.story

More:
»www.philly.com/philly/news/20101···urs.html
»news.yahoo.com/s/pcworld/2010112···stcities

Krisnatharok
Caveat Emptor
Premium
join:2009-02-11
Earth Orbit
kudos:12
The outage hit me in NOVA as well. Had to pull an emergency DNS switch on my router since I had never bothered to change it.
--
We need to talk about your TPS reports...
jus10

join:2009-08-04
Sterling, VA

Re: Create DNS string using alternate company's servers

It seems to be really hit or miss as I had no problems at all. I didn't notice an issue and yet, assuming both of our cities are listed correctly on our profiles here, we're in the same town.

I have the 75.75.75.75 and 75.75.76.76 as my servers. If there's an issue, I'd probably add the 8.8.8.8 backup but I really want DNSSEC and Comcast seems to be the only provider there yet.

Krisnatharok
Caveat Emptor
Premium
join:2009-02-11
Earth Orbit
kudos:12

Re: Create DNS string using alternate company's servers

I switched to 8.8.8.8 last night. Is there something better about the other two you mentioned?
--
We need to talk about your TPS reports...
MRCUR

join:2007-03-09
Columbia, PA

Re: Create DNS string using alternate company's servers

They are DNSSEC servers.

NormanS
I gave her time to steal my mind away
Premium,MVM
join:2001-02-14
San Jose, CA
kudos:12
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
·Pacific Bell - SBC
said by jus10:

... I really want DNSSEC and Comcast seems to be the only provider there yet.

Seriously? I've just been here:

»www.grc.com/dns/dns.htm

Part of my result:
DNS Nameserver Access Details
=============================
External Ping:       replied    (It might be better for the server to be less visible.)
External Query:      replied    (It would be better for it to ignore external queries.)
DNSSEC Security:     supported  (This server supports improved security standards.)
Alphabetic Case:     all lower  (An improvement could be created by mixing case.)
Extra Anti-Spoofing: unknown    (Unable to obtain server fingerprint.)
 
I am assuming this means that the ATTIS DNS servers I am using are also DNSSEC capable. For AT&T Yahoo! HSI.

--
Norman
~Oh Lord, why have you come
~To Konnyu, with the Lion and the Drum
jjeffeory

join:2002-12-04
USA

1 recommendation

Same here. I use alternate DNS servers and have for years regardless of ISP. I haven't experienced any problems in DC and Comcast.

Derch
Premium
join:2004-10-16
Cross Plains, WI

Don't forget...

That folks were also trying Google's DNS service. Might as well make this balanced.

battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000

1 recommendation

Kind of like DSLR, right?

"but Comcast's official Twitter accounts haven't been updated since last night -- when the company had no ETA or explanation for what caused the outage"

Some what similar to when DSLR has an outage and then nothing is said? I don't have a problem that nothing is said when DSLR has an outage. I just have a problem that they beat up others for having an outage without giving the play by play that Karl expects.

Lagz
Premium
join:2000-09-03
The Rock

Re: Kind of like DSLR, right?

said by battleop:

Some what similar to when DSLR has an outage and then nothing is said? I don't have a problem that nothing is said when DSLR has an outage. I just have a problem that they beat up others for having an outage without giving the play by play that Karl expects.

Apparently you don't read this forum much! Don't worry I don't either, but at least I know about it.
--
To talk much and arrive nowhere is the same as climbing a tree to catch a fish.

battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000

Re: Kind of like DSLR, right?

I didn't know that's where that type of stuff is buried. Just pointing out another "Do as I say, not as I do" moment on DSLR.

MonkeyLick78

join:2002-01-27
Hixson, TN
You pay for DSLR?
When a paying service goes down costumers need an update.

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5
said by battleop:

"but Comcast's official Twitter accounts haven't been updated since last night -- when the company had no ETA or explanation for what caused the outage"

Comcast has more than 1 Twitter acct & there have been updates:
»twitter.com/comcastcares
»twitter.com/ComcastWill
»twitter.com/comcastbill

LeftOfSanity
People Suck.

join:2005-11-06
Dover, DE

Didnt last long

I dont know if it was purely a DNS issue. At one point I could not ping by IP either.

I noticed trouble around 8:30 pm or so, I first noticed no addresses were resolving, I tried pinging by IP, got 1 out of 4 returned.

I reset my IP stack, reset winsock, rebooted and everything worked fine. I only had downtime of 15 mins maybe.

Wierd.

Morac
Cat god

join:2001-08-30
Riverside, NJ
kudos:1

Two cities isn't "a huge chunk of the east coast"

I'm in NJ and had no problems yesterday. From what I've read it was Boston and Washington DC.

MooJohn

join:2005-12-18
Milledgeville, GA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Windstream

If they were like Verizon Wireless

they would have been blocking DNS traffic to outside servers and thus nobody would be able to get around the problem.

This is a prime example of why open standards and neutrality are a good thing.
--
John M - Cranky network guy

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: If they were like Verizon Wireless

said by MooJohn:

they would have been blocking DNS traffic to outside servers and thus nobody would be able to get around the problem.

This is a prime example of why open standards and neutrality are a good thing.

The Verizon Wireless blocking claim by OpenDNS was bogus:
»Verizon blocking OpenDNS is bogus claim

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Comcast speaks to press about outage

»news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-200239···1_3-0-20

Comcast spokesman Charlie Douglas told CNET through e-mail that last night Comcast engineers identified a server issue that affected Internet service for customers primarily in the Boston and D.C./Beltway areas.

Though the outage focused on Boston and Washington, D.C., a Comcast customer service technician reportedly told NBC News that there were "significant Internet outages" in Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts, New York, and New Hampshire, according to MSNBC.com.

Douglas told CNET that Internet service was impacted for a few hours last night before being restored. He added that Internet access is working properly this morning, but Comcast engineers are carefully monitoring the service. Douglas added that Comcast apologizes to customers affected by the outage.

Douglas told CNN that it was unclear exactly how many customers were affected by the outage and that the cause was still being determined.


OldschoolDSL
Premium
join:2006-02-23
Indian Orchard, MA

Google DNS & Open DNS

Google DNS:

8.8.8.8
8.8.4.4

Open DNS:
208.67.222.222
208.67.220.220

Between these two, no issues.

NormanS
I gave her time to steal my mind away
Premium,MVM
join:2001-02-14
San Jose, CA
kudos:12
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
·Pacific Bell - SBC

Re: Google DNS & Open DNS

Or DynDNS.com Internet Guide?

»www.dyndns.com/services/dynguide/

Setup is free. NXDOMAIN results are available in place of an error redirect. They test right up there with OpenDNS and Google on the GRC DNS Benchmark.
--
Norman
~Oh Lord, why have you come
~To Konnyu, with the Lion and the Drum

Harddrive
Proud American and Infidel since 1968.
Premium
join:2000-09-20
DFW
kudos:2

FYI

they are still having outages but it's not a DNS issue anymore. lost internet around 10AM at my residence and it's still out.
--
Liberty is allowing other people to do the things you disapprove of.

FLATLINE

join:2007-02-27
Buffalo, NY

What really happened?

Im a Time Warner Customer and last night experienced a spotty internet connection starting around 7pm and then by 9pm its was dead. Ive been using Googles DNS servers for about a year now so Im wondering if it was really a Comcast issue and was it really a DNS issue?

Scree
In the pipe 5 by 5

join:2001-04-24
Mount Laurel, NJ

heh

Good thing I just switched (back) to OpenDNS the other day. lol And after testing with that new DNS tester app from Steve Gibson, the OpenDNS servers are actually the fastest for me.