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back to article BT mops up after flood and fire

BT is restoring power to a central London network node that disastrously flooded and caught fire yesterday, but remains unable to say when services will return. The incident at Burne House in north Paddington crippled landlines, broadband and mobile services across the west of the capital. More than 430 local exchanges are …

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All that just to be able to make one phone call?

That BT man needs all that kit to make one phone call?!

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Coat

All that kit

It's the new BT state-of-the art portable satellite phone.

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Inconsiderate

The wardens will have him - he's parked across two bays.

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Flame

Bad Parking

He can't deny the parking offence either - there is photographic evidence and his registration is in full view - Two weeks for NIP in the post I believe?

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Flame

Flood *AND* fire?

What was it flooded with? Petrol?

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Never played half life?!

Electricity + Water = Electrical fire.

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Big Brother

Re: Never played half life?!

So you're saying the G-Man is to blame for this? Or maybe his 'employers'?

I knew it!

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Black Helicopters

Not...

...at liberty to discuss that.

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Thumb Down

Aprillia!

Got you in one sentence!

"Burne House" burnt down.

Oh, try harder next year.

Sigh.

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Anonymous Coward

I thought that as well but...

http://www.skyscrapernews.com/buildings.php?id=2034

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Coat

IT in London 101

I once had to help cart a complete data centre from the basement to 1st floor of a London office (about 6 or 7 racks) because during an audit, they were 'reminded' that they weren't that far from a river that could be prone to flooding. So prepare for the great London flooding of 2017, they took precautions of hoping the water would only come up about 5 meters max. Seems like it may be in vain though if there will be no connectivity.

Coat because.. Well, Its a bit wet out.

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FAIL

A funny take on that.

A mob I am familiar with did the same thing some years back with one of their places.

Rather carelessly, the 1st floor location selected was immediately beneath the building's main water tank on the roof. When that split some months later the kit got exactly the sort of multi hundred gallon sousing that the move was supposed to prevent.

Nearly a decade later and there's still been no natural flooding in the area of the building concerned, nor is there likely to be unless you are a risk analyst trying to justify a fee.

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Alert

Initial reports..

...seemed to suggest it was a fire... then Sam filled the basement. You could assume it was a sprinkler incident. although in such an electrical rich environment you would assume not.

Would be odd for an electrical fault to cause a flood.. unless of course you have electrical taps and electric plugs in your sinks... I know BT can be extravigant but...

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Boffin

Erm...

I thought it was fairly obvious that flood caused electrical fault caused fire...

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Anonymous Coward

Flood then fire?

Put an HV substation in a basement, fill it with water, see what happens. Might be worth ringing the fire brigade first to get them on their way.

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FAIL

Scotland too

It appeared to knock our POS card devices as far away as Edinburgh, Scotland too - at least my fave cinema lost their card facilities, with their provider pointing the finger at BT. I thought the whole point in the Internet was in the event of something like this happening everything would still 'just work'.

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Anonymous Coward

Internet...

Erm, there are other networks besides the Internet. It's pretty unlikely that a POS provider would use the public Internet as their main traffic bearer. And even the Internet can't route traffic through a node that's not there any more.

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Anonymous Coward

marble arch

my router reported a live connection around 4am today but no IP address was acquired. The phones are working so I am guessing the broadband should be up soon.

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This post has been deleted by its author

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Badgers

Try a neighbour's phone?

If your exchange is down and your mobile can't get a signal what the hell is the point of going round to your neighbour's to try?

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Umm...

...perhaps because your neighbour might have a non-BT landline? Alternatively they could be on a different exchange if you happen to live on the boundary between two exchanges.

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Only if...

...your neighbour lives in Hull.

There is no such thing as a non BT landline.

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Title

Virgin gone bust have they?

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Anonymous Coward

Phone Service

Disconnected customers who need the emergency services should try their mobile or a neighbour's landline, BT recommended.

.... Hmm! If only BT still had payphones!

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Anonymous Coward

BT Recommends...

Disconnected customers who need the emergency services should try their mobile or a neighbour's landline, BT recommended.

So if your phone doesn't work try another one. Thanks for the advice BT!

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PirateSlayer

"Electricity + Water = Electrical fire."

There is no such thing as an electrical fire. Electricity doesn't burn.

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The confidence of the uneducated

An electrical fire is a fire caused by electrical arcing. It's called "an electrical fire" because, generally speaking, electricity and fire are involved, with the latter being a result of the former acting up. They do have a propensity to start when electrical equipment gets wet, as wet equipment usually implies moisture in the air, and moisture in the air usually forms a very good electrical conductor. A few sparks and presto, a fire starts in all your expensive and wet equipment.

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@AC 23:17

"The confidence of the uneducated"

Check your fire classifications. You'll find some of it printed on your nearest fire extinguisher.

The classifications are on the materials burning, not the cause of the fire.

Therefore there is no such thing as an electrical fire.

Trust me, I have been educated in the matter, including the practical side of fire fighting.

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FAIL

Where's the mesh?

It seems as though much of the comms from Reading goes through this single building. Surely it can't be that difficult to arrange for multiple routing. Loss of a single node (no matter how important) shouldn't impact the network so severely.

Redundancy - we've heard of it.

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A title?

Is this an admission that BT's service is terrorable?

"Disconnected customers who need the emergency services should try their mobile or a neighbour's landline, BT recommended."

Your neighbor might have Virgin and a service which works (BT admitting their service is down). also in London there is possibly more comms connections per hectare that anywhere else in the UK??

You can't really blame BT for this; it's not like they can up sticks and move it all overnight.

Mike

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Paris Hilton

blame BT

> You can't really blame BT for this; it's not like they can up sticks and move it all overnight.

yes we fucking can. it's clear they haven't designed their network properly. it doesn't have enough redundancy and resilience. loss of an exchange shouldn't take out communications for a huge chunk of the country. why were so many other exchanges apparently only connected to this node in paddington? and those fuckers at bt should have better fire/flood protection at important nodes of their network too.

besides, blaming bt is compulsory at el reg...

paris icon 'cos she's got lots of experience at going down

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Alert

Resilliance...

This just shows that despite talk of cyber warfare / terrorism etc. well placed conventional devices (read: bombs) could do massive and lasting damage to our digital infrastructure, and without the need for specialised IT knowlege...

Anonymous, because I don't want to be 'black bagged' for saying what 'they' don't even want me to be thinking.

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Happy

This is great....

...on the helpdesk we're blaming everything on this flood/fire....whether there's cable attached not not.

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FAIL

DF

Better than blaming it on Open Reach and pretending you aren't the same company and that the customer needs to deal directly with your infrastructure department. Thank god I have Virgin Cable!

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Pint

All working here

we got broadband and phones back this morning (I work in Paddington)

Yesterday was the quietest day I've had in years.

The usual 'when is it going to be fixed' complaints stopped when the users went out to lunch and found out that they couldn't buy anyhthing coz all of the POS stuff was knocked out and the cashppoints wern't working.

Priceless

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That's why we need meshed networks

Imagine a world where you would have meshed networks and everybody would have wires or radio links running to their neighbours and maybe the occasional central location. An event like this might have slowed the network down, but it certainly would have continued to work.

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Continued to work?

Not if the server with the account details of all the people on the mesh network was in the building that went down and there was no backup.

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FAIL

Election time

Seeing as it is election time, when did that IT specialist who goes by the name of Cameron say:

"You don’t need a massive central computer to do this. People can store their health records securely online, they can show them to whichever doctor they want... But best of all in this age of austerity, a web-based version of the government’s bureaucratic scheme services like Google Health or Microsoft Health Vault cost virtually nothing to run."?

God help us if this the Conservative solution. "Sorry no hospitals open this week, Paddington's gone down again"

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Anonymous Coward

spooftime

No guys its an april fool, my broadband is perfectlf***********

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FAIL

Bring the country down quickly!

One communications centre down

Very restricted telephone communications in that area

Credit card transactions blocked through much of country

Bank systems down -- no cash available

Sounds like a good recipe for a terrorist plot.

Too many young IT persons with plenty of knowledge but very little sense and too many senior managers who don't live in the real world and are incapable of asking "What if?"

Start stockpiling food and keep your cash in an old sock under the mattress, anyone?

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Whinging reg readers

Ah the usual "proper network design blah blah blah..." The core network is being upgraded, until then you'll have to make do with System X routing, i.e., this is the concentrator you're connected to, this concentrator feeds back into this exchange etc etc.

And re: card payments, your supplier will be using private circuits mainly and if a PC goes though the affected exchange then it will fail. This is called "your card payment people have no clue about resillience"

Here's a crazy idea, just to throw this out there... how about "things do go wrong". Like it or not, occasionally stuff happens. Some of this stuff could be solved by providing every single subscriber with a secondary resillient path from premises to core node but somehow I think you'd baulk at the price.

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