In an interesting, if not annoying to those affected, situation it appears that Windows XP SP3 has been named the culprit in a string of broadband router crashes and reboots. This is obviously causing a great deal of stress to those affected, who must certainly find it difficult to obtain the necessary firmware upgrades released by the router manufacturer without access to the Internet.

Dan Warne writes:

Broadband modem/router maker Billion says XP SP3 has been causing its BiPAC 5200-series routers to go into a constant crash and reboot cycle.

The company has produced firmware upgrades that solve the problem.

Although Windows XP SP3 has been available for manual download from Microsoft since May 6, it has just hit Windows Update as an automatic upgrade, which will cause unexpected problems for owners of “unpatched” Billion BiPAC 5200 routers, and possibly other brands or models of router.

Folks over at Slashdot are blaming changes to XP's networking stack or UPnP behavior made by the service pack, but there is no confirmation as of yet on what changes are causing the mysterious behavior on the routers.

This unexpected and certainly undesirable side-effect of XP SP3 appears thus far to only affect the Billion BiPAC 5200 routers. In general, it is evidence of the subtle dance of networking stacks that occurs between applications and networking devices every day, usually without such dire results. It is an "in your face" example of the dependence both networking devices and applications have on one another, and the way in which a mistake introduced in either one can potentially bring down your infrastructure.

While this situation is affecting only consumers, it's a great reminder for application delivery solution providers and organizations alike of the delicate balance between applications and network devices, and the way in which each can enhance - or destroy - the ability of each to fulfill their respective roles.

Imbibing: Coffee