Verizon adds cascading catastrophic failure to boost 5G confidence (not)

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We hate to sound like a broken record but when Verizon is accused of triggering a ‘cascading catastrophic failure’ the record needs one more spin. The result of said ‘cascading catastrophic failure’ was to bring large amounts of the internet to its knees.

Described as a ‘small heart attack’ at the heart of the internet, the really concerning thing is that it was completely avoidable.

Essentially, the whole thing was caused by a Verizon customer suffering a ‘route leak’ which meant that the internet traffic police decided that the best route for traffic was via a metal manufacturer and a couple of other companies that have nothing to do with internet traffic.

Then a Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) told Verizon that this was the best route, Verizon passed this on and of course everything fell over as large amounts of internet traffic had to squeeze down the equivalent of a small country lane.

The incident went against any kind of best practice, even normal practice and Verizon is, to say the least, not very popular with companies whose businesses suffered. Apparently, 2,400 networks were affected and according to one expert on these matters BGPs should be destroyed because, well, they are crap.

If this was a stand-alone case then it would warrant a few critical articles and an investigation. However, when you add this incident to recent cases where Google Cloud became unavailable and Vodafone had an outage which brought its network down across seven countries, then you have to ask some fairly serious questions.

And, again with the broken record, one thing you worry about is 5G. So much more is achievable with 5G than mere fast broadband that quality of service is critical to its success, actually its viability. Large telecoms companies are investing huge sums in its success (not just the network technology). BT, as one example, demonstrated an ultrasound over 5G.

5G is about turning techniques, processes and industries on their head but to do this the network must work all the time at the levels of reliability and quality that, it now seems, will not be possible. Certainly not able to be guaranteed.

With this background, and with over 90% of enterprises happy to trust telecom operators with their 5G needs, according to recent research, you have to think that this will change.


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