Hayden, who runs the superb Pinstack BlackBerry forum, offers a post with some practical advice the next time it appears that your BlackBerry service has gone down.
The first thing you should do is run a test to determine whether it is just your BlackBerry, your network- or as we saw yesterday- issues that are totally more widespread.
Specifically, Hayden counsels that you should:
Run a BlackBerry Network dianostics test. This will confirm if you are connected to BlackBerry servers or not. Go to: Options > Mobile Network > (Press menu button) > Diagnostics Test > Run.
OK, so we have an outage. Besides not panicking, what do we do now?
Don't always expect PIN to PIN messages to work - During outages don't expect PIN to PIN messages to work sometimes that service will also be down. Check the pin-to-pin status in your diagnostics report. However, you can still "send" a PIN message but it wont be delivered till service is restored.
Use SMS text messaging - Make urgent contact using SMS text messages. These are sent over your Carrier's Network by default unless you've changed that setting in Options > SMS text > Network to send over.
You've been Temporarily downgraded! - Remember during an outage your BlackBerry will function similar to a regular low-end cell phone. By this we mean No PUSH email, no web browsing, no PIN messaging and no IM (Instant Messaging) services.
Repeat the Diagnostics Test when service is restored - If the test fails go to Manage Connections and turn off your Mobile Network option, then check box to turn back on. Still fails? Hold in the power button till the device powers down, then press the power button again to power up. If the service fails and you are 100% certain it's been restored then press and hold power button to shut down device, then remove and replace the battery for a hard reset.
Hayden then offers this Bonus tip:
Reply to pending emails via PC if possible. Yes we know you are itching to get those thumbs typing but with any outage there will be a flood of messages and data being syncronized once service is restored. Help ease RIM's initial recovery-load by avoiding the use of BB email, browsing, etc for at least the first 30mins unless of course you are away from your desk.