Politics & Government

State computer network goes on blink, stopping email and other service at agencies for nearly four hours

A problem with state government’s computer network in Olympia caused outages for email and many web sites for nearly four hours Tuesday, and the trouble affected most agencies, officials said.

At issue was the slow performance of two routers that slowed the passage of information across the network. Agencies affected included the Governor’s Office, the state prison system, the Department of Enterprise Services, and the Department of Social and Health Services. But service was largely restored by late afternoon.

“Complete stability to the network was reestablished at around 3:20,’’ spokesman David Brummel of the Consolidated Technology Services agency said. The system was rebooted around 3 by staffers from CTS and vendor Cisco Systems, gradually ending the disruptions at many agencies, he added.

“I know email was really slow. Internet access was most likely very slow. My understanding is some voice-over-IP phones were degraded … My understanding is it was intermittent,’’ Brummel said.

The equipment was new and Cisco representatives were on site trying to fix the problem as well as determine the cause, according to CTS.

Sporadic effects at the Department of Enterprise Services kept that agency’s web site off line, and staffers had to use thumb drives to write documents on their computers, spokesman Curt Hart said.

Visitors to the state Public Disclosure Commission’s web site were unable to look up campaign finance data.

At Corrections, spokeswoman Norah West said an internal network stayed up “so we were able to access the database.’’ But email was down.

“Emails are trickling in. They started trickling in about 4 o’clock,’’ West said.

The cause of the breakdown remained under investigation as workers across the Capitol Campus headed home at the end of the day.