UPDATED 10:46 EDT / JULY 11 2022


Major Canadian internet outage attributed to router glitch

Internet and wireless service from Rogers Communications Inc. are almost fully back online following a 19-hour outage that began early Friday morning and disrupted banking, transportation, cell phone and even some 911 emergency services in Toronto and parts of eastern Canada.

Rogers, which is Canada’s largest telecommunications provider, said service had been restored to the “vast majority” of its customers by early Saturday morning.

In a statement issued on Saturday, Rogers Chief Executive Tony Staffieri blamed the outage on a “network system failure following a maintenance update in our core network, which caused some of our routers to malfunction.” He said the company was able to restore service after disconnecting the affected equipment and redirecting traffic to bring service slowly back online.

Cloudflare Inc., which monitors internet traffic, provided a more detailed analysis, saying the outage was likely due to a glitch in the Border Gateway Protocol, a key feature of the internet’s global routing system that determines how packets are transmitted between routers.

“BGP allows one network (say Rogers) to advertise its presence to other networks that form the Internet. Rogers is not advertising its presence, so other networks can’t find Rogers’ network and so it is unavailable,” wrote Cloudflare bloggers João Tomé, Tom Strickx and Mingwei Zhang. BGP issues were also blamed for a global outage that hit Facebook Inc. last fall.

Industry and government officials said there was no evidence that a cyberattack factored into the outage.

The crash took down Interac, the principal network Canadian banks use for debit cards, ATMs and money transfer operations. It also affected passport offices, Canada’s tax collection agency and some 911 services. The Toronto-Dominion Bank, Bank Of Montreal and Royal Bank of Canada were among the financial institutions that said consumer services were affected.

Some industry-watchers speculated that the incident could affect Rogers’ plans to buy Shaw Communications Inc. for $26 billion. Canadian regulators have opposed the deal on antitrust grounds. Canadian phone and internet service charges are already among some of the highest in the world.

Photo: Flickr CC

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