Friday, June 3, 2016

Massive Cellular Outage - quick thoughts

I've got some thoughts on the massive cellular outage that has overtaken the US right now.  Since it involves multiple carriers, it seems to point to some structural problem (or vulnerability) in the cellular networks.

This screenshot from shows several major cellular providers and how they are fairing with outage reports.  Note that several are clumped together in their outage times.

The most interesting thing about this outage is that AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM while Sprint and Verizon use CDMA.  These are two different protocols and as such a vulnerability in GSM shouldn't impact GSM or vice versa.  Really interesting to consider what the common vulnerability points are for these networks.

It's hard to argue at this point that the cellular networks are not critical infrastructure and if this is anything other than a massive single point of failure I expect more government involvement in the protection of our cellular infrastructure.  

1 comment:

  1. Agree with your analysis. I also notice that few news sites are reporting this, leads me to believe it is bigger than just my cell phone not working.


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