Many Internet users were unable to access the Web after problems hit the Cable Internet service of Comcast in the US east coast Sunday.
While the company claimed only Boston was affected by the outage, Twitter comments showed that service was affected in other cities including Baltimore and Washington, DC. Problems with the domain name system or DNS server reportedly caused the outage according to Twitter postings.
“Our engineers are working very aggressively to fix the problem,” said Doreen Vigue, a Boston-based spokeswoman for Comcast. She said she didn’t have any specific information about the cause of the fault or the cities affected beyond Boston.
The human-friendly internet address is converted into a numeric Internet address through the DNS system. This conversion is vital to Internet communications, so a DNS server that goes down means outage in the whole Internet communication system.
Users however said switching the settings of their PCs from the DNS servers of Comcast to the Open DNS project or Google got them back their normal connections.
The outage has left hundreds of Internet users worried considering that it came on the eve of Cyber Monday, which is touted as even better that Black Friday when it comes to getting the best deals online.
Comcast officials however said serviced had been restored, but declined to reveal the cause of the disruptions.
Bob Grove, Comcast spokesman, apologized for the outage and said “only Internet service has been affected, there are no video or phone issues,” he said. Grove said service was restored to users in the 11 p.m. hour.
Grove said they Comcast is “still gathering information” as to what caused the outages. He said he did not know how many homes were affected.