Network outages can be caused by many different situations, such as power failures or rough weather. But Google is having an unusual problem in Oregon. Google’s senior vice president of technical infrastructure Urs Hölzle stated on his Twitter account that the short outages in Google’s network is caused by cows, and shared a picture related to it. The fiber line, supposed to be on top of a power line, somehow fallen to the ground and whenever a cow steps on it, the cable is bent and causes short outages.
Frequent short outages
This is not the first time an animal is damaging a network cable, sharks and squirrels caused similar damages before, but this is probably the first network outage caused by a herd of cows. Google’s senior vice president of technical infrastructure, Urs Hölzle said,
“Ok here’s a new one: did you know that cows can cause network outages? Don’t laugh, it happened to us. The beginning of the story: recently, we noticed frequent short outages (“flaps”) on a multi-terabit fiber path through Oregon. This link is an aerial fiber link (fiber is strung along the path of a high-voltage power line). Such links have lower reliability because storms, trees, ice, and the occasional hunter can damage them. But this time we found something new: the fiber line had fallen to the ground yet continued to work just fine. But recently a farmer had started grazing a herd of cows nearby. And whenever they stepped on the fiber link, they bent it enough to cause a blip. Don’t believe me? Here’s a picture capturing the situation: the power line, the fiber on the ground, and a cow in the background.”