Smartphones

Another major BlackBerry disruption reported in North America

For the second time in 10 months, a major service outage of the popular BlackBerry service has been reported. The cause of this new outage is still unclear at the moment. What is known is that it began at about 3:20 P.M. ET and was fixed early in the evening. However, the accrued backlog of messages that developed will probably take some time to clear before service returns to normal.
For the second time in 10 months, a major service outage of the popular BlackBerry service has been reported. The cause of this new outage is still unclear at the moment. What is known is that it began at about 3:20 P.M. ET and was fixed early in the evening. However, the accrued backlog of messages that developed will probably take some time to clear before service returns to normal.

It was not immediately clear how many BlackBerry subscribers had problems, though Bell Canada spokesman Jason Laszlo said the majority of its BlackBerry customers were affected by this outage. A technical support recording for Canadian wireless provider Rogers Communications said subscribers could have difficulties sending and receiving messages, activating accounts, and using other services like Internet browsing.

The official word from RIM at the time of failure is that a "data service interruption" was resulting in "intermittent service delays for BlackBerry subscribers in North America." Because the fault resides with RIM, the problem spanned all operators in North America. Not all customers were affected though.

As of December 1, 2007, RIM had 12 million users worldwide, the majority of which reside in North America.

Additional reading:

The last widespread BlackBerry outage in April last year raised questions about the centralized nature of the BlackBerry service. Even though it appears that this latest outage was resolved in a much shorter amount of time, it is almost a certainty that it will have a big impact on the confidence of enterprise customers.

Detractors may argue that the total downtime clocked by the BlackBerry service is probably not worse off than what is experienced by your typical enterprise server in a year. However, the perception of users is probably as important as actual uptime here. After all, when a BlackBerry outage is experienced, it typically takes up to a full day or more before service goes back to normal.

Were you affected by the latest BlackBerry outage? Are you considering getting a backup on an alternate platform?

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About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

27 comments
support
support

So next time your Power goes out are you planning on switching to another service provider? RIM had 2 outages in the past 10months only unlike all the other crashes we face day and day out in IT. Use the PHONE not everything must be EMAIL.

DigitalFrog
DigitalFrog

And for those who aren't on ATT, we only had one outage for less than 3 hours in the past year. Still works out to better than 99.9% uptime

TheGooch1
TheGooch1

All your Smartphone/PDA are belong to us!

luis.alvarez
luis.alvarez

Each time RIM has these outages, they rarely admit it til way later if any. Possibly looking at alternatives to Blackberry like using Good Technologies or MS-based.

eebyaj
eebyaj

Totally happy with my BB. My package also includes cell service, which was not affected by the outage. Being without email for an afternoon was not a problem. We have a web based service portal as backup if we need it.

TheGooch1
TheGooch1

Before the BB, I had a Razor and a Treo, the Razor wasn't robust enough for my needs, and the Treo was bulky and crashed several times a day and had horrible memory management. My BB never locks up or reboots on its own, and the push email is a great bonus. I do wish my model( Pearl ) had stereo BT audio and a movie recorder, but it does what I bought it for flawlessly. TheGooch

aadato
aadato

My company has the Blackberry Exchange Server on our own network, I currently have the 8830 model. I never experience any type of lag, loss of emails and hardly ever got dropped calls (I had one two days ago as I drove through the apex of a valley). I am in the shipping industry where I go to docks and travel all over the Great Lakes on cargo vessels and I have not had anything to complain of, honestly.

Sonja Thompson
Sonja Thompson

Were you affected by the latest BlackBerry outage? Are you considering getting a backup on an alternate platform?

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Fortunately for me, I use a phone for one purpose: as a phone. While the Blackberry concept may be a good one, I feel that a Blackberry device is incredible overkill that is more dangerous than useful. As such, I can't see spending the money for such a useless and dangerous device.

solutions
solutions

I live on the Delmarva Peninsula and was not affected by the outage.

rdamato
rdamato

We had one phone call from a user about the outage. Our BB service uptime has been 5 "9s" for the last 4 years. The BES server and services are bulletproof - we use Verizon BBs and network.

bfpower
bfpower

I wasn't very affected because I was in rural Washington for a good part of the outage. And really the only thing was that I couldn't check my email (which I really shouldn't be when I'm on vacation). I also couldn't update my status on Facebook (sad)... And honestly, if you think BB's service is bad, you need to try a pocket PC. We used to use those at our office and we just couldn't get rid of them soon enough.

K-JAC
K-JAC

Using a proprietary messaging service and device, while popular, may not be pragmatic. POP-ing (IMAP actually) to my mailserver from the phone is not only tried and true, it provides a single messaging backend for all my needs.

DigitalFrog
DigitalFrog

Notoriously insecure. POP and IMAP do not meet corporate standards for secure communications. I work in the Oil & Gas industry where data communications must be secure to prevent someone with a cell-sniffer from intercepting critical information. One of the reasons we use BES is that it offers encryption from end to end on all data as well as the ability to issue a remote wipe if a device is lost/stolen.

csmith
csmith

You would think it was the end of the world from the reponse of the end users. I do believe RIM would have some kind of cluster for failover. It seems to me that a server went down or was hit with a dos. It was only a few hours so by the time you would get another system up they would have fixed it. So, no we are not looking to replace it.

mbernier
mbernier

We run blackberry and Goodlink. Good is always up and blackberry constantly gives problems!

TheGooch1
TheGooch1

Lets see, the article is about a Blackberry Enterprise Server, but you use a server outage as an benchmark for the quality of the BB PDA. They are two different things. So, either you meant BES is crappy software, or you meant the Blackberry handheld device is crappy...which did you mean? Btw, I have 100% uptime on both ( my BESE server and BB Pearl device ).

TheGooch1
TheGooch1

We have both, also. Blackberry is always up and Goodlink always gives us problems. We didn't even notice the outage..it must have been very short and/or isolated.

mark.gurney
mark.gurney

I think that might be an exaggeration...

hazpower
hazpower

We run GOOD mobile for over 1350 users on Palm and windows6. Not a glitch or never had major outages. I worked with Blackberry environments before, and find GOOD a more stable product.

juan.sifuentes
juan.sifuentes

Yes, we were also affected. I can't see how they don't have some sort of redundancy for situations like this. You would think they would have some sort of Plan B, just in case.

ssteele
ssteele

I was affected, we did not get emails during that period, but around 7p all the emails that were sent came flooding in with no problems after that.

Jshee42
Jshee42

Yes it affected me, but I will not consider another platform. A BB works best for me!

j.renee.martinez
j.renee.martinez

I did not have an interuption in service. I have been a Blackberry user for 5 years and have only experienced one short outage in that time.

DigitalFrog
DigitalFrog

There is a difference in the service networks. This outage appears to have primarily affected BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server) based users.

MSharkey
MSharkey

We are affected but we are not seeking to change service. We can live through an outage.