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.
Statement From Verizon Wireless on 4GLTE Network
In light of recent events, Verizon Wireless shared the following statement about its 4GLTE Network:
The Verizon Wireless 4GLTE Network is BY FAR the largest and the most advanced 4GLTE wireless network in the world. It is available in 190 US markets and covers more than 200 million people, providing the fastest 4G Network in the US.
Being a pioneer comes with growing pains. The recent issues that affected our customers’ 4GLTE service were unforeseen despite careful, diligent planning, deployment and ongoing upgrade programs.
Problems customers experienced affected connectivity to the 4GLTE Network and data service. Several times, we have proactively “moved” 4GLTE customers onto our 3G Network to ensure all would have a data connection. For brief periods, such as on Wednesday (12/28), 4GLTE customers could not connect to the 3G Network as quickly as we would have liked.
Nonetheless, we estimate that 4GLTE connectivity has been available approximately 99 percent of the time this year.
Why have these issues occurred with our 4GLTE Network? Each incident has been different from a technical standpoint. Our engineers have successfully diagnosed those past triggering events, and they have not re-occurred. We also work diligently to rectify technical problems in the Network before they affect any customers.
Our 3G and 1X Networks continue to reliably process calls, texts and data for customers with 3G devices and, when necessary, 4GLTE devices. It continues to perform at the high level that established it as the nation’s largest and most reliable 3G Network.
We are taking a number of steps, working closely with our network suppliers, to ensure the integrity of our 4GLTE Network. We continue to fortify and improve its performance, and our goal is that our 4GLTE Network meets the same high standards that our 3G Network has set for performance and reliability.
Among the numerous measures we have taken or will take are: geographic segmentation, which enables us to isolate, contain and rectify network performance issues, and maintain service to the majority of customers when an issue does develop; and software fixes that we have developed, tested and applied regularly – and will continue to do so. Both will improve performance and reliability.
And finally, we are learning from these issues and applying the same gold standard to our 4GLTE Network that make our 3G Network the nation’s largest and most reliable.
Verizon Wireless is a leader and pioneer in this cutting edge technology that provides very fast wireless data speeds, enabling customers to enjoy the best experience in video and other wireless data usage. Clear unbuffered streaming video, super fast file downloads and wide availability are among the advantages we offer to customers. The capabilities of 4GLTE have exceeded many expectations.
We will not rest until our 4GLTE network performs at the very highest levels that our customers have come to expect from us.
Cheers Matt and Jigga_Z!