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Internet Outage Last Week? Blame 512k

pleasestandbyStarting earlier this week, reports of Internet outages started rolling in. Internet outages happen, but unlike most outages, which happen at random, this one was predicted by IT professionals since 2007. Why? Because a numerical limit of 512k.

Starting on August 12, multiple Internet routers encountered their default software limit of 524,288 (aka 512k) IPv4 BGP routing table entries, causing outages at a variety of data centers. The limit was an arbitrary number programmers chose years ago. Some said it was like Y2K all over again or worried that the Internet was broken. So what’s the fix? Since IPv4 addresses were essentially exhausted, and there has been limited switching to new protocol IPv6 by network operators, aggressive subnetting of IPv4 took place to extend the life of that protocol. Future outages may occur, but for the most part things are back up and running.

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