Monday, February 02, 2009

Let it Snow!

A bit of inclement weather and the country grinds to a halt! I mean, seriously, the worst snow in 18 years and suddenly the whole national infrastructure falls over.

And I mean the WHOLE national infrastructure ... even the mobile phone network!

OK, so I expect the websites of the rail companies to struggle with the traffic (I mean, if they can't run a train network, why should their IT network be any different), but getting a "network busy" signal on my mobile when I tried to make a call? Well, that's just not on.

It seems ludicrous that the mobile phone network can't cope with spikes in traffic, but then when you consider the complexity of planning a radio network and the fact that for many operators the management of it is still not automated and maybe it's not a surprise. If the network engineers can't get into work, how can they fix it when it starts to creak under the strain?

At the end of last year I picked 'Self-Optimising Networks' as a theme for 2009, and you can see why. If an operator had SON, then as soon as a cell starts to creak, neighbouring cells can turn-up their power and take some of the strain. Similarly, the network could prioritise certain traffic to ensure that voice calls still go through. Actix* is one of the companies that is leading the charge in SON and automated Network Status Management (NSM) ... and you have to say, any more snow and they'll be quids in!

* Actix is an AxiCom client

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