The experimental Internet2 high-speed network was taken out on Wednesday by a fire started by a homeless man.
A lit cigarette carelessly discarded on a mattress is blamed for starting a conflagration which knocked out services on Internet2 (Abilene Network) between Boston and New York after it burnt cables which run through the Longfellow Bridge, which connects Boston and Cambridge across the Charles River. The fire, which started around 8.20pm, also disrupted services on the Red Line of Boston's subway.
Engineers estimate the circuit may take up to 48 hours to restore, Network World reports. The Chicago-to-New York OC-192 circuit that normally runs through Boston may be re-routed via Washington DC.
The incident illustrates the lack of redundant paths on Internet2 which, in fairness, remains an experimental network used largely by academics. Last December, data was transferred at 9.08 Gbps over an effective distance of 30,000km for a period of five hours, setting a new speed record for the Abilene Network, the more correct name for the super-fast network run by the Internet2 consortium. ®