April 18, 2007 6:30 AM PDT

BlackBerry e-mail is back, but problems remain

Research In Motion is grappling with a widespread system failure that left the network for its BlackBerry devices in the Western Hemisphere unable to handle e-mails.

"A service interruption occurred Tuesday night that affected BlackBerry in North America," according to a statement from RIM. "E-mail delivery was delayed or intermittent during the service interruption. Phone service on BlackBerry handsets was unaffected."

According to an automated message on RIM's customer service hotline, the company is "experiencing technical difficulties with our BlackBerry service that may cause delays in sending or receiving messages."

This is likely due to a backlog of e-mails stemming from the service outage, which was first reported on the New York metro news site WNBC.com. The outage is believed to have originated around 5 p.m. PDT on Tuesday. WNBC then reported that service was resumed around 4 a.m. Wednesday but that problems with a backlog of data were likely.

"Root cause is currently under review," RIM said in its statement, "but service for most customers was restored overnight, and RIM is closely monitoring systems in order to maintain normal service levels."

(Editors' note: For a later, more in-depth look at the underlying technical and business issues, see this story: "BlackBerry outage: RIM a victim of its own success?)

Because the problem concerns the BlackBerry network, all cellular carriers that support BlackBerry devices have been affected, though it is believed that they were still able to make regular cellular calls through their carriers.

But on the BlackBerryForums.com discussion site, some members also indicated that they could not access Internet-browsing features in addition to e-mail.

RIM initially acknowledged the problem through a recorded message that is played when calls are placed to the BlackBerry customer service hotline, stating that the company is "currently experiencing a service interruption that is causing delays in sending or receiving messages."

No further updates have been provided, and no time frame has been given for dealing with the problem, but the automated message assured concerned callers that they would be kept in the loop.

See more CNET content tagged:
service interruption, Research In Motion Ltd., BlackBerry E-Mail, RIM BlackBerry, customer service

28 comments

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Turbo tax spillover...
just another reason to revamp the tax laws!!
Posted by Kings X Rocks! (89 comments )
Reply Link Flag
American Idol voting?
funny how it went down shortly after american idol voting began LOL :-)
Posted by jfalkingham (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Updates
For updates on the Blackberry outage, visit: www.fiscaltimes.com
Posted by taygo14 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
The weakness of the RIM solution
Everything must go through them. If you are using Exchange WM5 are much better since they use multiple cell providers. Its pretty much a straight shot from you device to your Exchange server.
Posted by Lindy01 (443 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why is RIM even in the picture?
If I have a local BES server, why is mail going through a RIM network anyway?
Posted by mike.gw (942 comments )
Reply Link Flag
All traffic goes through RIM
My understanding is all Blackberry service passes through RIM at some point. Your BES server connects to RIM through one link, and your BBerry connects through its own link. Then RIM makes the connection between the two. That is why you don't need to open your firewall to allow incoming connections to your BES server.
Posted by sott3 (3 comments )
Link Flag
Windows Mobile Smartphone working fine
My windows mobile smartphone is working fine, gotta love not needing a BES server or depending on RIM. Just makes no sense to me.
Posted by rasncain (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
wow
you must have the only fully functioning Microsoft product ever invented.

Congrats.
Posted by amlis_vess (2 comments )
Link Flag
Communicatons Failure redux
I administer a BES server with about 150 or so addicted users. My biggest gripe is their lack of communication with their end users (Although being a single point of failure is fundamentally poor design.). They have know about this outage for over 12 hours and their is STILL nothing on their website about it. One has to call to get a canned, nearly useless message.

We have upgraded to a Silver Support agreement and we still do not get notifications. But, we ALWAYS get their promotional literature via email. Furthermore, on three prior occasions we have had our srp suspended by RIM and, after wasting time troubleshooting our side, find outthey turned us off ONLY after opening a support call. Why could they not script a notification into their security protocol?

I am at a loss to understand why a communications company fails to communicate. If this were the first time it would be understandable, but it is not.

We too support WM5, but we have not had neither great experience with the devices nor Enterprise management tools (lack thereof).

Russ
Posted by RussJr (26 comments )
Reply Link Flag
CNET is First Stop
Whenever I get outage reports from my BES users, my first stop now is CNET news as they always seem to have reports up about the outage. RIM used to have a Network Status page but it no longer works. Sad.
Posted by robertl30 (6 comments )
Link Flag
CNET is First Stop
Whenever I get outage reports from my BES users, my first stop now is CNET news as they always seem to have reports up about the outage. RIM used to have a Network Status page but it no longer works. Sad.
Posted by robertl30 (6 comments )
Link Flag
This is why an Exchange/WM5 solution is better...
I can't believe all of these businesses depend so heavily on the RIM servers and it absolutely blows my mind that emergency services depend on them as well. I use an Moto Q hooked up to an Exchange 2003 server. Now, its entirely possible that could go down as well, but if my server goes down it affects 20 people until the fail-over kicks in, RIM's server goes down and half the business people in the country lose mobile email. Doesn't seem like a very intelligent model to me.
Posted by PhillyBoy919 (126 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yeah it works great...
if you want to be stuck with support for one mail system (Exchange
only), minimal remote management, and zero security. Not
everyone uses Exchange.

RIM may not be for everyone, and it's a huge pain sometimes, but
there's a reason it's the gold standard.
Posted by starch_y (16 comments )
Link Flag
Thank god for Windows Mobile/Exchange!
Wow, I never felt comfortable knowing that all Blackberry users - no matter who their phone provider is, is at the mercy of one company. At least with an Windows Mobile/Exchange solution, its network agnostic, and the service isnt run by MS, or one large firm - it's all based on an individual installation.. If one installation goes out, everyone else will work.. Its a much better solution in the way its implemented and also it just works SOOO much better with Outlook/Exchange, rather than having to have a blackberry server act as a go-between.
I feel bad for all those RIM users, but I'm not suprised.
Posted by explorer5 (31 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Haza!!
I agree. Of course you are dependent on your wireless providers network, but still you never see this type of outage, save a natural disaster. Blackberry's are usually very stable, but I was glad to be one of the few at my company still able to send and receive emails last night and today.
Posted by ZeroJCF (51 comments )
Link Flag
As opposed to...
being dependent on Microsoft instead for all your needs.

Given their record, I'll take RIM.
Posted by starch_y (16 comments )
Link Flag
I wondered WTF happened
ARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHH.

I wondered *** happened last night as I struggled to find an
address.

iPHone.

IPhone.

Go ahead and flame me, but "it just works."
Posted by dansterpower (2511 comments )
Reply Link Flag
iPhone What ??
Hate to call someone I don't know an idiot, but the iPhone isn't out so no one can say anything about its reliability.

Get real.
Posted by regulator1956 (577 comments )
Link Flag
DOH! Can you Say Exchange 2003 w/ SP2 or 2007
Hahahaa... why pay flippin' Blackberry subscription fees when you can get a greater level of phone flexibility, better application development base, and better PC integration??

Most people already have Exchange 2003 (Exchange 2000 is End of Life)... simply update to SP2 and BAM - FREE PUSH!
Posted by jessiethe3rd (1140 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Get real
To all the folks looking at exchange/MS as a an alternative to RIM, just this note: I've had my crackberry for three years. In that time I've dropped on the concrete innumerable times, drowned it a couple of times, and only turned it off when I'm on a flight. It has worked constantly and consistently all that time. In the US, Canada, Europe, India, and the middle east.
Can any of the rest of you claim that with any device?
Posted by chpdx (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
likewise
I'm on my second BB due to an upgrade and my old one at 3 years of age was passed along to a colleague. It was dropped multiple times and took an unintintional swim with me once. Other than this outage and minor problems created by our own IT group, it just works. Best business tool I have ever owned.
Posted by ngnr (1 comment )
Link Flag
Hmmm..
Granted lots of people couldnt get email from their bb. and some still can not. But how often do these servers crash? this is the 1 major time that I have read of the whole system crashing and effecting all these bb users. How many times has WM crashed on your phones? as opposed to crashes on blackberries?
Posted by myth90045 (47 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Most of the service is back
Most of the BlackBerry service is now back up and running, but some customers may experience delays as the company processes the backlog of e-mails. Millions of customers in the Western hemisphere were without the use of their BlackBerry devices for 9 hours Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. A system failure knocked out service and e-mail delivery was delayed or intermittent. Even after the initial problem was resolved customers still experienced delays due to the large amount of emails in their systems that needed to be processed.

This is a perfect example of why more and more businesses are thinking about hosting their messaging systems externally. Some hosting companies like alerted their customers to the problem early and the solution/interaction with RIM happened automatically in the background. They also pointed our customers to a readily available workaround that few IT departments were aware of or had deployed.
Posted by 123together (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Is RIM Checking on everyone?
I am curious to know why every RIM device went down? Definitely a good water cooler topic around corporate offices.
Are they checking for licensing? counting messages? or?
What is their DR plan?
What if the network to their office goes down?
Is the US customers dependent on a link to a Canadian company?
Can the Canadian Government use it as a negotiation tactic with the US?
And the list goes on.

Sure be interesting to know as mail is definitely mission critical.

J
Posted by RTFT (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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