Stormy times ahead

Long term airtime users will have noticed a change in the pattern when it comes to network disruption. There are more of them, and they are lasting for longer. Mobius logged 92 disruptions in service from our various partners between May 16 and April 17. From May 17 to Oct 17 that rate has risen to about ten a month (Mobius customers on our high resilience package had no interruptions through the same period).

One critical factor is Signal Storms in this change in behaviour. If a network is down Phone Users will try a few times to make a call and then either change location or wait till they know the network is back up and make their calls then, assuming that they have not done what they need to do by another means.

Internet of Things (IoT) or Machine to Machine (M2M) devices rarely have the option of moving. They are also generally set up so that they will keep trying repeatedly to send the data they have through. As each device attempts to connect and can’t the pent-up demand builds like the Thames behind the Barrier. When the network comes back up, instead of the usual hundreds of devices trying to connect every second there are hundreds of thousands waiting to get their vital data through.

This tidal wave can swamp the networks’ ability to accept connections. In the meantime, more machines are adding themselves to the queue to send data faster than the network can process them. Even when the network is back up the problem may continue to grow.

This swamping creates a domino effect from an individual large customer whose servers have gone down, to a MVNO, a network, their partner networks and international connections.

It doesn’t have to have this impact. But the ability for a network or an MVNO to ‘open its mouth’ and swallow that wave is expensive and only required occasionally.

When it does happen, and it is happening more often, you need to be with a supplier who has understood those problems and invested in the solutions. So, you can continue to work without worrying.

To find out more about Signal Storms and the Mobius coping strategies contact [email protected] or call us on +44 1530 511 180

Written by

Douglas Gilmour

Douglas formed Mobius in 2003 after twenty years’ experience in the Semiconductor industry. He was driven by the idea that airtime could be better and more secure.