In the wake of a series of major, damaging earthquakes in Puerto Rico, Ookla Speedtest dove into its data from before and after to get a picture of how mobile users were impacted and the current status of the networks.
The fluctuations in power availability on the island had a clear impact on connectivity.
“Natural disasters can … wreak havoc on the infrastructure that supports that connectivity, including electrical power,” noted Isla McKetta, head of content for Ookla, in a blog post on the data. “Electricity is essential to power cellular networks and not all cell sites have on-site power generators.”
After each of three major quakes of 5.8 or larger earlier this month, Ookla noticed a drop-off in test volume from embedded devices, such as routers, gateways, modems, test and measurement devices and IoT devices that monitor connectivity by running a scheduled Ookla speed test. Those devices can’t run their scheduled tests when the power is out.
Ookla’s Speedtest data found a larger disruption after the 6.4 quake on January 7 than the 5.8 magnitude quake the day before, even though power plants on the island were reportedly taken offline as a safety precaution after the first quake. Ookla also found that not having access to power affected devices’ battery life for a number of days afterwards — observations which it said “may appear straight-forward, [but]are important to highlight because they illuminate the cascading connectivity challenges that communities face in times of crisis. … In places like Puerto Rico, where the power grid is still suffering from the effects of Hurricane Maria, the effects of additional natural disasters on critical mobile networks can be especially challenging.”
The data analysis company is offering up some access to its data from Puerto Rico to network providers and regulators for free, in order to assist with recovery efforts.
In other test news:
–Viavi Solutions is partnering with Ingram Micro on distribution within the United States for some of Viavi’s test solutions for fiber and cable networks. The distribution deal covers fiber test tools including Viavi’s FiberChek Sidewinder and T-BERD/MTS-2000 OTDR, its Trilithic cable signal leakage detection, a range of optical meters, and Viavi’s Observer enterprise network performance monitoring offering.
–Rohde & Schwarz has beefed up some of its oscilloscope capabilities with automotive applications in mind, and says that latest improvements to its R&S RTP oscilloscope family include the capability for 16 gigahertz of acquisition bandwidth in order to accommodate various signal integrity tests and debugging, for automotive Ethernet interfaces as well as a host of other applications. R&S added that, in partnership with chip company Marvell, the two companies were the first to execute successfully 1000BASE-T1 compliance tests, for the Marvell’s 88Q2112 Ethernet transceiver, using an R&S RTO oscilloscope.
In related company news, Rohde & Schwarz said that it has hit the milestone of deliveirng 10,000 of its software-defined radios for stationary and shipborne secure, mission-critical voice and data communications. Most of those, it said, are VHF/UHF radios for line of sight communications.