Ookla tells what happens to internet when mobile providers go down

By Xite - October 1, 2019
Ookla has found that mobile speeds increase during an outage (for those who could connect). According to its blog, the number of mobile Speedtest results also increased on the day of the outage as use....

You must be familiar with a situation where people freak out when they lose mobile connection on their smartphones. People tend to run apps like Downdetector and Speedtest to check whether it’s the mobile operator or it’s just their connection that is at fault. But what about those who still have their phones connected while yours is down? Ookla, a platform that facilitates internet testing and analysis, has found answers of things that happen with other customers who use the service by the same network provider as yours while you struggle to get those 'towers' on top of your screen.

To find out what happens with other customers, Ookla used data from Downdetector and Speedtest to explore outages and what follows these outages. ‘We looked specifically for recent outages that affected mobile networks in a variety of countries around the globe,’ the platform said in a blog post. The outages we explored were in countries, including India (Vodafone-Idea — 1,386 reports on July 17), Sweden (Tele2 — 7,275 reports June 17-19) and the US (T-Mobile — 95,267 reports on September 6), among others.

Ookla theorised:

  • Mobile speeds would increase during an outage (for those who could connect) because there would be significantly less network congestion.
  • Fixed broadband speeds would not change during an outage.
  • The number of mobile Speedtest results would increase on the day of the outage as users tried to troubleshoot their connections.

‘We compared each operator’s mean download speed over mobile on the day of the outage with their mean speed during that month to see if our hypothesis held. Results were mixed,’ the platform said.

In India and the US, mobile download speeds increased very slightly for each provider on the day of the outage when compared with the monthly average. The outage in India centered around Ahmedabad. When it came to fixed broadband speeds, only slight variations were seen. ‘Our hypothesis about fixed speeds not changing during mobile outages proved mostly true. Although download speed over fixed broadband did decrease in some European countries during their country-wide outages, the decrease was very small,’ it said.

Ookla also found that Speedtest results increased during outages. ‘Our hypothesis that the number of mobile Speedtest results would increase on the day of an outage held mostly true,’ it added.

  • Tags
  • ookla
  • downdetector
  • sppedtest