The latest BlackBerry messaging and browsing outage is the result of a core switch failure in RIM's infrastructure, the company has admitted as the incident continues to spread around the world.
A second outage on messaging and browsing services is continuing to affect users of RIM's BlackBerry handsets. Photo credit: Ben Woods
to RIM's BlackBerry Internet Services (BIS) is affecting not only
the EMEA region — as did an
outage that ran from Monday morning to the early hours of Tuesday
— but also India and swathes of South America, RIM has
Multiple comments across service
forums, RIM's Facebook page
also suggest that the outage has extended as far as RIM's home country
of Canada, although the company has not confirmed this. Operator Vodafone Egypt has told customers that the problem has gone
"The messaging and browsing delays being experienced by BlackBerry
users in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India, Brazil, Chile and
Argentina were caused by a core switch failure within RIM's
infrastructure," RIM said on Tuesday evening.
"Although the system is designed to fail over to a back-up switch,
the failover did not function as previously tested. As a result, a
large backlog of data was generated, and we are now working to clear
that backlog and restore normal service as quickly as possible," the
company explained, apologising for any inconvenience and promising to
"continue to keep you informed".
Telecoms analyst Dean Bubley said the
problem could lie in the way RIM "siphons off" all internet traffic to
and from BlackBerry handsets for optimisation purposes, without
allowing fallback to normal internet peering points in the event of
RIM's systems going down.
"RIM routes all data traffic via its servers and network
infrastructure, [creating a] single point of failure," Bubley told ZDNet UK.
"It does lots of good things — it compresses data a lot, adds
security, manages email connections, [enables] BBM and so on —
but it also routes the 'vanilla' web traffic through that path as
RIM has yet to explain the serious outage that struck BlackBerry
services on Monday — an incident that ended
just hours before the second one began. It took RIM three hours
to acknowledge that the second outage was taking place at all.
It is not clear whether the same fault caused both spells of
downtime. A glance at O2 UK's
service status page suggests the operator is
treating the two as a single incident. The Twitter stream for
Vodafone Egypt contains multiple apologies to customers,
repeatedly explaining that RIM's systems are suffering a "global
problem" and the operator is awaiting feedback from the handset
T-Mobile UK, meanwhile, used Twitter to inform
its customers it will not compensate them for the loss
of service "as this is a BlackBerry issue". The operator's status
page urges affected customers to contact RIM via that company's
As for RIM's official customer support pages, there are multiple
threads full of complaints about the downtime, as well as some
suggesting that RIM's signing server is also down. This server,
which is essential for BlackBerry developers, suffered a major
outage in July.
All this comes at a precarious time for RIM's management. The
company is losing market share to Apple's iOS and the Google's Android system, and the merchant bank Jaguar Financial, an investor in the Canadian firm, is campaigning to have RIM broken up
or sold off.
According to Reuters, Jaguar, which wants co-chief executives Jim Balsillie and
Mike Lazaridis out, said
on Tuesday that it has the support of eight percent of RIM's
shareholders for its plans — enough to demand a shareholders' meeting about the matter.
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