Via Dallas Morning News — Virtual learning sputters to a halt in schools across North Texas after hardware crash at regional hub. More than 50 school districts in a nine-county area, including Collin and Dallas Counties, ran into connectivity problems Thursday morning.
Online learning sputtered to a halt for thousands of students in the North Texas area Thursday morning when a hardware problem at a regional Education Service Center caused internet connectivity issues for more than 50 school districts.
A piece of hardware failed at a contractor for the ESC Region 10′s fiber network, said Rachel Frost, the region’s chief communication officer. As a result, 54 member school districts across nine counties — Collin, Dallas, Ellis, Fannin, Grayson, Hunt, Kaufman, Rockwall, and Van Zandt — suffered varying degrees of connectivity issues for approximately 2 ½ hours.
Please see the FISD website for updates about our current internet outage which is beyond Frisco ISD. Region10 as a whole is experiencing the issue.
This is causing slow or no internet at campuses. This will happen from time to time and your patience and grace is appreciated. pic.twitter.com/CxH2qKFpOT
— Shawn Perry (@Trent_Principal) August 20, 2020
Allen, Crandall, Carrollton-Farmers Branch, Frisco, McKinney, Midlothian and Richardson ISDs all reported issues, which ranged from missed Zoom calls to unplayable video lessons.
For those giving virtual lessons from their campus classrooms, the outage led some teachers to get creative.
Lauren Marsh, a fourth-grade language arts teacher at the Spark STEM Academy at Rainwater Elementary in Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, posted a picture on social media Thursday morning of her reading a book to her students while sitting in her car.
“Me, making the best of a bad situation, teaching from my car while the internet is down,” the caption read.
In Frisco ISD, which has more than 63,000 students, the response to the outage varied by the classroom, said Meghan Cone, the district’s assistant director of communications.
“In some cases, parents and students were advised of delayed/rescheduled live meeting opportunities,” Cone said. “In other cases, teachers were able to conduct live meetings on schedule via their cell phones or hot spots. In other situations, teachers returned to their homes to utilize the internet connection available there.”
Frost said that the hardware problem was resolved late Thursday morning, with connectivity restored to all the districts.
Network providers tend to keep extra capacity than their current demand to improve reliability and account for potential hardware/software failures that might pop up, said Dr. Kamil Sarac, professor of computer science at the University of Texas at Dallas.
“Hardware failures together with increased demand are inevitable causes for potential outages. … In times of high demand, (providers) may be forced to utilize their extra network capacity to satisfy demand.”
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