What happens when a mobile network has an outage?

What happens when a mobile network has an outage?

It’s a very modern frustration – wanting to send and receive text messages and browse the internet but being prevented from doing so because your mobile does not have signal. At first, many of us will try the ‘on and off again’ trick in the hope this works.

If it doesn’t, there’s often a moment of panic and desperate attempts to find out if your mobile network is down (and it’s not your phone that is broken). It could be that a network outage that has caused the problem if you’re in a location that usually has good cellphone coverage. But what does this mean and what has caused it?

When there’s an outage, a large percentage, if not all the mobile network operator’s customer base will be unable to use the data and communication function of their phones. This means no texting, calls, internet browsing or social media. Clearly, this can cause a host of issues for those who need to use their mobiles.

The reasons behind outages can range from bad weather to human errors and network changes. Weather can have a particularly bad effect on your mobile signal, as the heat, cold, rain and stormy conditions can disrupt telecom masts and kill your hopes of getting a signal. In order to prevent this from happening, telecommunication companies will often install signal boosters in local areas to keep users connected. In any case, disruption in signal often requires engineers to fix the issue.

Human error can also be attributed to mobile network outages. If an engineer has incorrectly rerouted traffic or encountered further issues while attempting to fix an existing problem, then often the network can be taken offline until it is properly repaired. In all circumstances, the operator will attempt to mitigate the number of users affected.

Attempts to upgrade or change network infrastructure can also be blamed for downtime. Changes to the network often requires mobiles to reconnect and if the network is particularly busy, this can take time. Making changes to the network technology can also cause delays and introduce new problems which have an impact on the quality of mobile service.

It only takes a network outage to reinforce just how much we rely upon our mobile phones in our everyday lives. Thankfully, downtime tends to be irregular or short-lived, but that’s not to say it’s not inconvenient.

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