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Etisalat proxy server blamed for internet problems

Breakdown on the information superhighway as Etisalat's internet users complain of blank pages and sluggish performance.

Etisalat's proxy server caches web pages and filters content.
Etisalat's proxy server caches web pages and filters content.

Blank pages have been greeting the users of Etisalat's fixed line internet services this week, with the UAE telco's proxy server cited as a likely cause of the stuttering internet service.

Some internet users say they have been unable to load pages since the start of the week, but Etisalat has yet to officially acknowledge the problem.

The web manager of a major UAE retailer said that for the past three days he had been noticing blank white pages when he tried to visit some websites, with Facebook in particular not loading. 

"If it's a blank page, it stays blank upon reload as well," he said. "However, I haven't had a blank page in the past 24 hours - but it is sluggish."

The IT manager of one Dubai-based company, who asked not to be named, said the fault lies with Etisalat's proxy server, through which the telco's UAE traffic is routed.

"I haven't received any answers from Etisalat," he said. "As per their technical team they are still working on the issue, but they were not able to give any time frame."

According to the UAE operator, the proxy server replicates and filters web content, caching frequently accessed documents to conserve bandwidth.

An explanation of the role of the server on the Etisalat website states: "The proxy server solves the problems of network congestion, slow response times and control over network resources without burdening end users. The proxy server also prohibits access to undesirable sites using a list of URLs."

In December last year, Etisalat's chief marketing officer, Essa Al Haddad, acknowledged that the project to roll out a nationwide fibre to the home network had caused some connectivity issues, and that running two networks- one fibre and one DSL - had been a challenge.

He said: "As we roll out fibre to the home there is a challenge on running two separate networks at the same time. This challenge will be with us for a few months."

Etisalat did not immediately respond to a request for comment.