Thursday, November 8, 2001

’Net failure paralyzes
some isle businesses

By Erika Engle

Pacific DirectConnect Inc. President and COO Michael Browning was just opening the office yesterday when network alarms started going off.

Further toward Diamond Head from PDC's Bishop Street offices certain Star-Bulletin editorial staffers were asking each other if they were having problems with e-mail.

Others complained about Web pages not loading.

Similar questions may have been floating over cubicles and circulating amidst LAN and WAN systems throughout the 11 other customers PDC serves.

The connection -- or lack thereof in this case -- was the local multipoint distribution service network owned by Washington-based High Speed Communications, and operated by Pacific DirectConnect, Browning said.

The problem was intermittent and therefore difficult to diagnose, he said, but was ultimately traced to a hardware failure in Honolulu.

Browning was unable to locate a spare part locally, and spent a few hours arranging for a FedEx shipment of a replacement part from High Speed Communications in Walla Walla, Wash.

It is to arrive at 2:30 this afternoon, he said.

"The problem is while we could have put something on a plane with less strict FAA rules, they're real tight," Browning said.

A commercial flight could have gotten the equipment to Honolulu in a much shorter time, he said, but with current airport security guidelines "commercial airlines want you to have shipped 24 parcels within the last 12 months."

While the company and its dozen customers wait for PDC to restore High Speed's network, "What we're going to try and do is set up alternate means, like dial up," he said. "It's slow but at least there'll be data flow."

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