Renesys, a market research firm that keeps constant tabs on the health and operations of the Internet, said Hurricane Sandy proved how hard it is to break the Internet. They watched networks around New York fail in real time as the hurricane swept across the region.
But the traffic just took a different route. From locations around the globe as varied as Chile, Sweden and India, some Internet traffic was forced onto alternate paths to avoid failures at critical transit points in the NYC area. We’ll take a look at some examples in what follows.
A week ago, the FCC reported that about 25% of commercial cell sites in the affected area were not operational. Now, a week after Hurricane Sandy made landfall, cellular coverage is now approaching normal levels but some areas remain cut off from mobile service because of ongoing power and telecommunications outages.
An FCC spokesperson was unable to provide similar information about any outages suffered by public-safety LMR networks, but, for the most part, public-safety LMR systems have remained operational, according to reports from New York and New Hampshire.
The survivability of Land Mobile Radio is primarily because stand-alone towers have generators providing backup power. Commercial cell sites, often on rooftops, rarely have co-located backup generators.
As New York and New Jersey residents struggle to get back on their feet after last week’s superstorm, Verizon announced it will waive voice and text charges for a two-week period. Many Verizon stores in the affected region are open to people who need to charge their wireless devices.
“Verizon Wireless continues to focus its efforts to assist customers in the regions hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy,” the carrier wrote in a FAQ about the program.
“We announced November 4th that customers in portions of New York and New Jersey will not be billed usage charges for domestic voice and text usage incurred between October 29th and November 16th 2012. No action is required by our customers to be eligible for this program.”