According to a report, a single malfunctioning network card was responsible for downing immigration computers at the Los Angeles International Airport over the weekend, leaving nearly 17,000 travelers stranded for nine hours.
Customs initially blamed the computer failure on a break in its external Sprint Nextel lines and waited several hours for a Sprint technician to appear. After three hours, the technician discovered that the problem was actually in the internal network. Customs then switched their story and blamed a faulty switch and then to a failed router, before finally settling on the failed network card.
Government officials in charge of the infrastructure at the airport said the network card took down the local area network after it began blasting data into the network, consequently the data overload caused the entire network responsible for secondary passenger screening to collapse. The outage occurred during the airport's peak operating month and on one of the busiest days of the week.
U.S. customs officials plan to buy 190 additional laptop computers with backup screening software in about two months, followed by a complete overhaul of the system by the end of 2008.