Feeds

Lone Android dev 'almost brought down T-Mobile'

See? Do you see how dangerous net neutrality is?

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

T-Mobile USA told the FCC that having an open network caused it severe overloading and network degradation, thanks to one incompetent Android developer.

The developer in question created an Instant Messaging application that drove traffic up by 1,200 per cent in one instance. As it became more popular, T-Mobile was obliged to offer technical support to the developer or risk the stability of its network. Now the mobile operator said it thinks that mandated net neutrality would prevent it from taking remedial action next time.

Fierce Wireless spotted the details, which were in a submission made to the FCC in January as part of T-Mobile's arguments that wireless should be exempted from any net neutrality legislation (pdf). The argument is based on the premise that wireless networks are more vulnerable than fixed networks, and thus should be afforded special protection.

"These signalling problems not only caused network overload problems that affected all T-Mobile broadband users in the area; it also ended up forcing T-Mobile’s UMTS radio vendors to reevaluate the architecture of their Radio Network Controllers to address this never-before-seen signalling issue."

The events described happened some time last year, and the argument is far from new, but it's interesting to hear that the issues have already manifested themselves. The problem here isn't the quantity of data, but the way in which the application was making use of it. T-Mobile isn't providing more details, but it seems likely the application was repeatedly setting up and tearing down IP connections, using each one for a very small amount of data and thus generating more signalling load than the base stations could manage.

This kind of thing is increasingly a problem as smartphones try to push battery life by shutting down data connections as quickly as possible, while the applications treat data connectivity as if it had no overhead - and thus make no attempt to aggregate traffic. Desktop applications can treat connectivity like that, resulting in a critical difference that T-Mobile reckons warrants an industry-wide exception to net neutrality.

T-Mobile's argument is that in this instance it was able contact the developer and help reduce the bandwidth being used, but next time it might not be so lucky. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
Ofcom tackles complaint over Premier League footie TV rights
Virgin Media: UK fans pay the most for the fewest matches
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.