Local e-mail service provider crashes Erol's troubles caused backups

August 30, 1996|By Timothy J. Mullaney | Timothy J. Mullaney,SUN STAFF

A fast-growing local Internet service provider saw its electronic-mail system crash for most of the day on Tuesday, starting e-mail backups that won't be fully cleared up until today.

Erol's Internet Services, which serves about 85,000 customers mostly in the Baltimore-Washington area, was attempting to upgrade its e-mail system from a personal computer-based network to a more powerful system when the new system crashed, said Chuck Money, director of Internet operations for -- Springfield, Va.-based Erol's.

Money said the outage was not as profound as the crash that hit America Online Inc., the nation's biggest on-line service and a major access point to the World Wide Web, earlier this month.

AOL's entire network failed for 19 hours, but Erol's said services other than electronic mail were unaffected.

"We're not trying to minimize it," Money said. "To us, it was serious. It was definitely a degraded service, but not a loss of all service."

Money said the system, restored late Tuesday, is still catching up on its backlog of e-mail that was blocked during the outage. Some of the blocked messages were programmed so the senders' computers would attempt to send them again later, and the last of the backlogged messages should be cleared by today, he said.

A prominent Bethesda new media consultant said the outage was atypical for Erol's.

"It's been known for being a stable service, with excellent customer service," said Peter Krasilovsky, senior analyst at Arlen Communications Inc.

Richard Hyman, an Erol's customer who lives in Ellicott City, said his e-mail service "has been erratic in the past month" and still wasn't functioning properly yesterday.

He said he uses the system to communicate with his children in Seattle and Hungary, and switched to Erol's from America Online in the spring because it is cheaper and because it concentrates on accessing the Internet rather than offering proprietary content as AOL does.

Pub Date: 8/30/96

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