North American Network Operators Group

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Re: [[email protected]: What happened in the UK]

  • From: michael.dillon
  • Date: Sun Jan 02 13:55:58 2000

On Sat, 01 January 2000, Joe Abley wrote:

> We rolled over 1h35m ago. Rollover saw (locally) two of the four mobile
> networks drop the users in the room with me (ie they saw coverage totally
> drop). However, the other two networks: Orange & One2One were fine, with
> users being able to make and receive calls fine. Attempting to call from
> Orange -> {Cellnet | Vodafone} received either line busy or network busy.

I was on the Westminster bridge near Big Ben at midnight and it was amazing how many people were pulling out cellphones just before midnight to phone up friends in other places like Sydney or New York. When people commented on being unable to make cellphone calls I asked what network they were on and most were on Vodafone but some were on One2One. Then about ten minutes into the fireworks display I decided to try making a phone call but my Orange mobile no longer had service so they were down too.

I suspect this may be a combination of too many people in one small area (3 million in the streets of Central London) and too many simultaneous attempts at making a cellphone call.

I think that cellphone use is a lot more common here in Europe than in North America. I sat on a train watching ten year-olds sending SMS messages to each other on their cellphones. As more and more such wireless devices are deployed, the possibility of localized overload becomes much greater. I experienced a similar overload four years ago at a technology conference held at a ski resort on top of a mountain which attracted more cellphone users than the single cell on the mountain could handle. Is this something that wireless TCP/IP can alleviate or is bigger infrastructure the only cure?

Michael Dillon   Phone: +44 (20) 7769 8489   
                 Mobile: +44 (79) 7099 2658
Director of Product Engineering, GTS IP Services
151 Shaftesbury Ave.
London WC2H 8AL