Mobile Broadband Brings High-Profile Outages, Heavy Reading Finds
NEW YORK -- As mobile operators transition to increasingly complex, IP-centric mobile networks, they are becoming increasingly vulnerable to new types of data networking outages, according to a major new report from Heavy Reading (www.heavyreading.com), the research division of Light Reading (www.lightreading.com).
Mobile Network Outages & Service Degradations: A Heavy Reading Survey Analysis provides a timely and unique visibility into how mobile operators are faring with the transition to mobile broadband. It reveals the frequency with which operators are experiencing outages and degradations in the network and the primary causes of those incidents. It considers the mechanisms, solutions and processes that operators are putting in place to notify them of issues and incidents in the network and then address them. It presents and analyzes the cost to the operator of managing these incidents and looks at the short- and long-term impacts of these incidents on an operator's wider business performance.
This report is based on a Web-based survey of network operators around the world, which was conducted in August 2013. A total of 76 qualified mobile operator provider respondents participated in the survey.
"Network outages and service degradations are a fact of life in operating a mobile network. Mobile operators spend around $15 billion a year dealing with outages and degradations," notes Patrick Donegan, Senior Analyst with Heavy Reading and author of the report. "On average worldwide, a mobile operator typically suffers from five network outages or degradations per year that impact its subscribers."
To minimize the impact of these incidents, it is critically important to have high-caliber people employed by the operator and its primary infrastructure vendors, as well as excellent communication between the two, Donegan explains. "A lot of incidents are triggered – and the duration of incidents and impact on customers is often rendered unnecessarily long – as a consequence of inadequate training of operations personnel and inadequate communication between different teams, including teams representing the vendor and teams representing the operator."
Key findings of Mobile Network Outages & Service Degradations: A Heavy Reading Survey Analysis include the following:
Physical link failures are the most common cause of outages, whereas network congestion is the most common cause of service degradations. Chip failures in network equipment due to broken air conditioning, board faults in network equipment, power outages and transmission equipment not working are among many of the causes reported. Configuration issues and network failures also score fairly highly in both cases.
Although network failures or failures in network/service enablers occur rarely, the impacts of these incidents tend to be relatively severe. Network failures – which generally refer to failures in the interaction of networking protocols across different network elements and domains – rank as only the third most common cause of network outages and the fifth most common cause of service degradations. However, when these failures do occur, the impact on subscribers tends to be the most severe.
Most mobile operators see room for improvement in understanding the causes of their outages and degradations. Only 29 percent consider their insight into network behavior to be "excellent," while 25 percent consider it only "fair" or "inadequate"; less than half (44 percent) consider their understanding of outages and degradations to be "good."
Mobile Network Outages & Service Degradations: A Heavy Reading Survey Analysis costs $3,995 and is published in PDF format. The price includes an enterprise license covering all of the employees at the purchaser's company.