If you’ve been finding your Internet speed slow over the last few days, it’s not just you. The Internet is having some hiccups according to many Internet service providers (ISPs). These technical problems being reported on by ISPs are causing people in the United States and some parts of Canada to have pages load extremely slow or not at all.
eBay was one of the largest websites affected by this problem The auction site was unavailable for hours in various parts of the world. They described the issue as being a “technical issue upstream,” which is just a complex way of saying the downtime wasn’t their fault.
These outages are causing domain and web hosting services to have a handful of outages that are beyond their control. This problem stems from an issue with the Border Control Gateway Protocol (BGP) routing tables. The routing tables have grown so huge that some routers (large commercial versions of what you have in your home) can’t handle them, and can’t correctly handle Internet traffic.
Teun Vunk, a Dutch Internet expert, explained:
“Some routing tables hit 512K routes today. Some old hardware and software can’t handle that and either crash or ignore newly learned routes. So this may cause some disturbances in the Force.”
The 512K routing number was chosen by programmers at random as their educated guess on how to get the Internet ready for future Internet traffic flow. We’ve now reached the point where this number, which is programmed into older hardware, cannot cope with the amount of web traffic there is now.
Cisco cautioned customers back in May that BGP was a near-future problem, and told customers than many routers and networking products would be affected by it. Their primary suggested workaround was replacing old equipment with newer models.
Unfortunately, this won’t be the last Internet interruption we can expect to experience. However, ISPs say that we can expect the problem to be completely fixed in just a week or two.