Telstra hires Cisco, Ericsson, Juniper to assess network after multiple outages

Telstra COO Kate McKenzie has opened up about the operator’s recent mobile network issues, and has Ericsson, Cisco and Juniper on board to run a complete assessment of its network.

At an event in Australia, McKenzie delivered a frank and detailed account of the operator’s recent woes, which included three separate outages on its network as a result of signalling storms. She began by addressing the questions being asked of its mobile network quality in the face of multiple outages.

“In a connected world, our customers expect always-on services,” she said. “As all of you know, events of the past six weeks have impacted Telstra’s ability to meet those expectations, and led to questions about the state of our mobile network.”

According to McKenzie, Telstra serves 16.9 million mobile customers and carries around 70 million voice calls every single day – up to 15% of who were totally disconnected during three separate incidents on the 9th February, 17th March and 22nd March.

“Our initial review has confirmed the incidents were not related, although two of the disruptions were due to delays in processing the registration of mobiles devices,” she said.

The first outage came as a result of a rudimentary issue with a signalling node which, when repaired, caused a flood of devices re-registering automatically. This wave of devices connecting en masse then caused an overload on other mobile signalling nodes, which subsequently knocked off millions of users.

Similar, but not identical, signalling storms were the reasons behind the additional problems Telstra faced on two occasions in March, and McKenzie said the Telco has, firstly, done its best to apologise to customers by offering unlimited data for two whole days. That data saw many users totally binge out on content over the two days, and Telstra said almost 4,000 terabytes of data were consumed by their users, roughly three times their usual traffic flow.

McKenzie concluded by saying it has drawn together industry vendor giants Ericsson, Cisco and Juniper to run a thorough assessment of its network, in a bid to prevent future signalling storms shutting it down.

“In conjunction with our global partners Ericsson, Cisco and Juniper we have assembled a team of internal and external engineering experts to do an end-to-end review of our network,” she said. “While this work is underway, Telstra Operations has a heightened awareness plan including Executive-level review of any changes planned for the mobile and core IP networks.”


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