SMS comeback thanks to Facebook failure | heise online


To the surprise of the German mobile network operators, Facebook’s breakdown led to a surge in SMS traffic. At Deutsche Telekom, the volume of text messages during the disruption period actually increased eightfold compared to the normal volume.

At O2, customers wrote around twice as many SMS as they did the evening before. The peak time was between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., when around 2.9 million text messages were sent. In the Vodafone mobile network, the use of SMS has tripled: 20 million instead of the usual 6-7 million short messages were sent. The telephone minutes have also generally increased, even if only in the double-digit percentage range.

The three network operators did not notice any significant changes in the amount of data transmitted via cellular networks. They attribute this to the fact that texts and photos on social networks consume significantly less data compared to video streaming. The Deutsche Telekom indicates a decrease of 4 percent of the usual data traffic by customers. With 15,000 calls, the service hotline doubled the demand. O2 and Vodafone do not comment on this.

What all networks had in common was the fact that mobile devices and routers were restarted millions of times, as users wanted to rule out that the fault was due to their hardware. On Twitter, WhatsApp competitor Signal was happy to welcome millions of new customers. However, not all of them were able to access the full range of functions. Presumably the servers were temporarily overloaded by the surprising tidal wave. Signal worked hard on a solution.

Technical problems with Facebook and its daughters WhatsApp and Instagram led to an outage of around six hours on Monday. Facebook explains this with incorrect configuration of its own routers. As a result, the data traffic between the data centers collapsed, which is why many apps have failed.

That cut off thousands of companies and entrepreneurs from customers. Some Facebook employees were no longer able to enter their offices. This shows how dependent the world has become on a single company.


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