After 3 major 4G LTE outages in the last month, Verizon has finally released a statement detailing the situation (and no, it wasn’t a half-baked Tweet) and what their plans are going forward. According to this release, each incident that occurred was different from a “technical standpoint” and has not re-occurred thanks to their engineering team. While Big Red is estimating that their LTE network has had approximately 99% up time for the year, they have admitted that as a “pioneer” in the LTE market, that there are growing pains and that they are doing everything in their power to rectify them.
So what exactly happened though? We don’t know specifics, but we do now have somewhat of an idea as to how Verizon plans to move forward so that these massive nationwide outages do not happen again. The two biggest things are “geographic segmentation” which will allow them to isolate issues and correct them before they become widespread, and also fix backend software that will provide better performance and reliability.
Update: GigaOM had a chance to speak with Mike Haberman, Verizon’s VP of network engineering, who was willing to provide some of the technical details. The first outage back in April was due to an IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) core software bug that “led to a complete failure.” The December 7 outage was due to a failure of a back-up communications database. The outages from the last two weeks were the result of IMS elements not communicating correctly. These bugs were not something that could have been predicted and simply decided to show themselves in the span of a few weeks here in December.
I think the big key here, is to remember that this LTE network is still brand spankin’ new and will have issues. There may be more next week or we could get lucky and not see one for another year. Just know that Verizon will have an extra $2 per person starting January 15 to help pay for the corrections (Hah! Sorry, one last cheap shot before the end of the year just felt necessary).
The full statement from Verizon is after the break.