As many owners of LTE handsets have seen, December was one heck of a month for LTE outages. In all fairness to Verizon Wireless though the network has been pretty stout. Over the past year the network has had no major outages except for one glitch back in April. We here at Droid Forums are going to steer clear of bashing Verizon because we perceive it as nothing more than growing pains. This is not to say that customers being irate over the outages have no right to be because in reality they do. A lot of people depend on their phones for business and when the data flow ceases it disrupts the individuals capability to do business.
GigaOM sat down with Verizon Wireless VP of network engineering Mike Haberman to discuss just what has been going on with all the recent outages and explain what steps Verizon was going to take to ensure that they don’t happen again.
Haberman explained "Being the pioneers, we’re going to experience some growing pains. These issues we’ve been experiencing are certainly regrettable but they were unforeseeable.”
He goes on to say that all three outages were caused by problems in Verizon’s service delivery core. This is called IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) — which replaces the old signaling architectures used in 2G and 3G networks. Verizon’s network is the first implementation of IMS in an LTE network and it has continued to be a problem spot ever since April, when a software bug originating deep within the IMS core led to a complete failure, kicking LTE customers off both Verizon’s 3G and 4G networks nationwide.
Fast forward to December 7th, the first outage since April. Haberman explained that this was caused by the failure of a back-up communications database. The second, last week, was the result of an IMS element not responding properly, while Wednesday’s outage was caused by two IMS elements not communicating properly. He goes on to explain that every subsequent outage is the result of a new bug and they are going to do their best to minimize them in the future.
There you have it folks. It's a baby learning to walk and there really is no way around this right now. From reading the rest of the interview it does appear that they will be on top of these outages because they are geographically "segmenting" the regions thus cutting down the likelihood of a nationwide outage. Plus you really can't get too mad at them when they say things like.....
“Our goal is to ensure that our 4G network meets the same high standard that our 3G network does. We’re not there yet, but we’ll get there.”