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T-Mobile outage


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Fiber cuts happen all the time - fiber is buried all over the place, and despite construction crews knowing they have to be careful when digging, and that fiber and other buried utility lines are usually well-marked, everyone knows Murphy's Law never takes a holiday. It is pretty unusual for a mobile service provider's entire customer base in a city the size of Houston to be taken offline by a single fiber cut, even if it's a big pipe. Not sure where this one was, but someone on Twitter was claiming it was a Comcast line that got inadvertently cut by a Comcast crew. 

 

To prevent outages like this, network operators that require 24/7 uptime typically design redundancy into their networks, so that if a fiber cut happens, traffic fails over to the redundant network section/provider in a manner that is (hopefully) transparent to end-users.  For example, BizCo, a company with financial systems that have to be available 24/7, might have its primary network connectivity through CenturyLink, with redundant connectivity through Sprint. If CenturyLink has a fiber cut and BizCo's connection to CenturyLink goes down, traffic is automatically rerouted through the Sprint connection and their systems are able to stay online with minimal impact.

 

In the case of a major service provider like T-Mobile, it may not be financially feasible to have complete redundancy across their entire service area, but they almost certainly have something in place to mitigate outages like this. 

Edited by mkultra25
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A section of the fiber optic cable being spliced probably does occur often, but this was a big "oops" moment. Not having a back-up plan when this type of incident happens is really unacceptable considering the number of cell only homes.

 

It motivated me to enable wifi calling but alas, after hours with IT, the issue goes unresolved. Certainly on my to do list after yesterday.

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