Archive for Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Maintenance hampers local Internet access, takes down local Web sites

August 12, 2009, 5:21 p.m. Updated August 13, 2009, 12:16 a.m.


Planned maintenance early today by Level 3 Communications, one of the vendors that provide Internet bandwidth to Sunflower Broadband, went awry Wednesday and hampered several local Web sites, including this one.

That unsuccessful maintenance led to hours-long Internet outages for Sunflower Broadband customers and prevented some users outside of the Sunflower Broadband network from accessing, and other World Company Web sites. Most users who subscribe to Sunflower Broadband were still able to access and other World Company sites, but some had intermittent access problems.

By Wednesday night, Internet service had been restored to most of the community, Sunflower said, though the fix was only a temporary one. Level 3 officials were still trying to identify the initial cause of the outage.

Rod Kutemeier, Sunflower Broadband General Manager, said Level 3 was one of three bandwidth providers for Sunflower Broadband. The other two continued working through the outage, but as bandwidth use peaked in the after-work hours, the two remaining Internet providers couldn't handle the traffic load. Kutemeier said Level 3 became aware of the problem early Wednesday morning and spent most of the day looking for the cause.

Sunflower officials said the problem couldn't be addressed at the local level, but only by Level 3.

Rob Hachey, senior director of sales for Level 3, did not return calls Wednesday evening.

Further updates on the status of will be provided here as they become available or from Sunflower Broadband directly via their Twitter account, @SFBroadband.


WHY 8 years, 10 months ago

Good thing this story is on the internet about the internet being down, that should help everyone who is wondering about why their internet isn't working. Have they tried unplugging the internet and plugging it back in, that is how I fix mine.

overthemoon 8 years, 10 months ago

local sites? How about the whole danged world?

nothing works except the journal world website.

password 8 years, 10 months ago

this sucks. i can't access my work website and i have work to do. hope they get it fixed soon.

password 8 years, 10 months ago

who the he@# is Level 3 anyway? maybe they should have went with Level 4 instead.

Dan Klamet 8 years, 10 months ago

This has been going on for me since Monday and it's been driving me up the wall. The only sites I've been able to access are youtube, google, and local websites.

tigerwill13 8 years, 10 months ago

and THIS is just another reason why Sunflower sucks...

yankeevet 8 years, 10 months ago

So refund my money for this crap service;..........

frank mcguinness 8 years, 10 months ago

I too need to access other sites for work, yet is working just fine???? I am glad there will be competition for sunflower sooner than later.

lastcall4oh 8 years, 10 months ago

you all crack me up...

Everything should work perfectly, everytime, all the time...

penguin 8 years, 10 months ago

This has been happening on and off throughout the week. I think this is pretty bad timing given the new options that will be coming to Lawrence.

However, maybe this is just a preview of the amazing Palladium service they are trying to promote. They will eliminate the caps and good service all at the same time.

rellek 8 years, 10 months ago

This sucks! I wonder if subscribers will be compensated for the lack of service??? Doubt it.

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 10 months ago

Jonathan Why is it that only the Journal World is online

fou 8 years, 10 months ago

Lastcall4oh, I don't expect everything to work perfectly, everytime, all the time, but I do expect the dominant cable/internet provider to have multiple backup solutions so that when something like this happens, they can switch and run through an alternate backbone. Other providers do this as a normal course of business. Penguin is right, this has been happening all week long, not just today. It finally just rose to the level that Sunflower decided they had to do something about it.

Sunflower wastes a lot of my time with commercials telling me how great they are and how perfect their service is and often doesn't deliver. I too would welcome some competition.

Jeff Bandle 8 years, 10 months ago

I like to complain as much as the next guy about Sunflower, but this is really not their fault and their isn't a whole lot they can do at this point. If you run a tracert command from a windows command window against your favorite web,, you'll see that data is getting out of Lawrence just fine and out of the region to the Denver is there that things go south.

As mentioned in the article, Level 3 controls a lot of the big network pipes that make up the internet backbone and Level 3 is having big problems. It bothers me a little bit that they still haven't tracked it down..that means it could be serious.

The reason all the local sights work is because that is Sunflower fibre and that is still running as expected. Hopefully they'll get this taken care me in that Sunflower is NOT the only ISP affected by this..this whole region is having problems at the moment. A coworker in New Mexico mentioned the same type of problem he was having today also.

Megan Tugman 8 years, 10 months ago

Yes because Sunflower benefits from pissing off customers...

af5 8 years, 10 months ago

Enough complaining.. Internet is finally working again (for the mean time).

gccs14r 8 years, 10 months ago

Who schedules a maintenance window for the middle of the week?

MyName 8 years, 10 months ago

Jonathan, Why is it that only the Journal World is online

It's because of the way the tubes are set up on the interwebs.

There's tubes that run around in a loop and tubes that connect the loops together. So if the tubes that connect the loops together (like level 3) are cut, you can still talk to other computers that are in your loop, you just can't talk to computers in other loops.

Since is on the same loop you can talk to it, but people in other loops won't be able to talk to and you can't talk to them.

And when things happen to make the tubes stick up or get full, you get big problems.

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 10 months ago

Thanks MyName for the explanation. After I wrote that I tried the library and the T and I could get them. My daughter lives around 27th and Iowa and she tells me she can't get anything. She can't even get Firefox to come up.

Jonathan Kealing 8 years, 10 months ago

As to the question about why you can access our sites, is located on servers within the Sunflower network. Whenever Sunflower users try to access, the request is never actually passed over the Internet. It also means, though, that users outside Lawrence trying to access will have major problems getting it to load.

We're also hearing that some users on Sunflower are having intermittent problems accessing internal sites. We'll keep you updated as we find out more. Thanks for your patience.

Jonathan Kealing Online editor

Jonathan Kealing 8 years, 10 months ago


We didn't really start having problems with LJ until 4 p.m. and got info up immediately thereafter. As for the broader Sunflower issue, I'll have to defer to them. I didn't know about the problem until it started to impact


Practicality 8 years, 10 months ago

"Don't try to act so self important and let Mr. Kealing do his and work through this harrowing event."

LOL. Good one Tom!

overthemoon 8 years, 10 months ago

my service has been spotty for a month. usually delays of less than a minute or so, but frequent enough to be annoying.

Shard7 8 years, 10 months ago

I called Sunflower last night to tell them that they had a lack of bandwidth to their upstream provider. The ping times were getting very bad around KC (from 10 ms to 250 ms over one hop from Sunflower to Sprintlink) and I had a friend in Texas trace a route to me to confirm this.

Seems that it wasn't Sunflower's problem. My friend suggested that they had a bandwidth ordering problem, which was kind of correct if you consider that who they order from is to blame.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 10 months ago

I was writing Jonathanan e-mail to beef about the problems I had with various sites. but then, I couldn't send that message! couldn't hit that particular SMTP server!
at about that time, Jonathan was putting this item up.

I also noticed webpage access trouble last night. not this bad though.

okay, does Level3 need some wd40?

Megan Tugman 8 years, 10 months ago

What's with the viciousness, machiavelli? Jon merely said he started reporting when he noticed the problem not when it actually started. I'm sure its been going down over the last couple of days and only culminated into today's loveliness.

Jonathan Kealing 8 years, 10 months ago

Mach-- I can't speak for Sunflower's problems, but the first time it got bad enough to impact a large set of our LJ users was today. If you ever have repeated problems accessing our site, though, you can always send me a message and I'll find out what I can.


monkeyspunk 8 years, 10 months ago

Jon doesn't work for Sunflower.

Every chicken is a bird, but not every bird is a chicken.

It is highly likely that Sunflowers provider has been having issues for a few days and knew it, hence the maintenance.

Here is the phone call, very similar to a phone call I received from our ISP when they contacted me about their maintenance work.

Level 3: "Hey, we are going to do some maintenance on Sunday at 7:00 am to deal with the slowness we are seeing on the network."

Sunflower: "Great! Will our users experience any further downtime?"

Level 3: "Gosh no! The device we are performing maintenance on has a failover, shouldn't notice a thing."

Sunflower: "I've heard that before... So no downtime?"

Level 3: "Come on, it's not like we haven't done this before."

Sunday, 7 am comes around and the interwebs are down and broken for a week.

aha 8 years, 10 months ago

This has been a problem for a few days for me. We were without internet service at work most of the afternoon today, and I have had problems with the connection at home since Saturday. Very highly annoying.

Hope it is all cleared up now.

puddleglum 8 years, 10 months ago

this has been a problem for me since monday.

I thought that maybe because I had complained about sunflower's high cost and poor customer service (see sunflower vs. freenet thread), maybe they had intermittently disappearededded me on and off again, as a penalty..

thanks jonathon and staff for this story....

I was getting worried.

oh yeah, and a refund?

bearded_gnome 8 years, 10 months ago

Jonathan, have the techs at sunflower flown in extra help, such as Bill Curtis?

to clarify my earlier post: I'm a Sunflower user. but I use Avast and the POP3 and SMTP are remoted for virus protection.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 10 months ago

Maniac, it is silly to assume your problem reaching a CSR at Sunflower yesterday was due to serviceproblems...sure some little bit might have.

but look at the calendar: 20,000 people are moving, new to lawrence, changingtheir living arrangements, etc. this is sort of their peak call time of year I suspect!

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 10 months ago

My daughter on 27th is still without Internet, is that because she is south of 24th?

dataman43 8 years, 10 months ago

food for thought! if you do a tracert ( trace route) I dont see level 3 involved at all !! it is sprint and att as the hops on the net. Futhermore, when i did a tracert, it died on the 4th hop of which is Sunflower, and the are blaming the problem on someone else??? cough cough!

Jonathan Kealing 8 years, 10 months ago


The reason you don't see Level 3 involved at all is because their network is having such problems. Sprint is one of Sunflower's other Internet access providers, so you're able to conduct a successful tracer test because of that network.

Jonathan Kealing Online editor

Sigmund 8 years, 10 months ago

Exclusive behind the scene video of Sunflower/Level 3 maintenance call.

kansasmutt 8 years, 10 months ago

AWWWWWWWWWW My A T & T works peachy and has all day and all week. I used to have outages every week with sunflower, but with A T & T it has been flawless for 3 months now and to top it off Its Cheaper too.Sunflower also had a fax line to our businees and it wasnt ever turned on for 3 full years and we didnt know it and missed ??? who knows how many things.And yes we got charged for 3 years at $50.00 a month.We are happy customers. N O T !!!!!!!

kansasmutt 8 years, 10 months ago

sigmund. The link to the meeting on youtube is the best thing i have ever seen, Thank you. I give you an A++ D O S

Paul Geisler 8 years, 10 months ago

Several of my co-workers at KU were having problems with Internet access this afternoon but my Internet access was working fine. Whatever the problem is at Level 3 it doesn't appear to be very noticeable at the regional Internet backbone level. Check out this website which provides an index rating for Internet response time and packet loss for North America, South America, Asia, Europe, & Australia.

The two major routers serving this region are Crystal Cavern out of Lenexa and Wormhole out of KCMO.

Scott Tichenor 8 years, 10 months ago

Some outage? Try, was down when I got home from work last night at 5:00. Still down at 7:00 a.m. this morning. I've already unsubscribed from the print version. Working to remove land line and go to cell phone only. Maybe I need a new ISP as well.

Sharon Aikins 8 years, 10 months ago

I actually started having problems on Tues. afternoon at about the same time but for a shorter time. Yesterday I couldn't get online at all for a few hours. I do have an online business which makes it inconvenient but all I have to do is explain to my customers why I couldn't access their information immediately. What scared me most though was not being able to find the info my mother wanted online LOL. She does NOT understand not getting instant gratification to her wishes! At least we could watch TV and talk on the phone. Surprisingly, I've found that I can call people and it works almost as well if not better.

Sigmund 8 years, 10 months ago

Here is a artists simulation of how Level3 fixed Sunflower's problem:

persevering_gal 8 years, 10 months ago

Hey Mach -

How much did Sunflower pay you to state, "Sunflower is a great service provider"?

I still blame Sunflower...they decided to go with Sprint and charge us an arm and a leg for cable & internet. I admit, Sunflower does have decent customer service in terms of helping people with problems, but not in terms of meeting customer demands.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.