Earthquake Puts Los Angeles-Area Wireless Networks On The Fritz

Did you feel that? A little before noon today an earthquake measuring 5.4 on the Richter scale rolled through Southern California and sent much of the region’s wireless infrastructure on the fritz immediately after. Countless reports indicate wireless networks experienced temporary outages due to network congestion for at least 90 minutes following the rattler. Some calls would go through while others would drop uneventfully as disruptions continued throughout the area for much of the lunch hour. AT&T spokesman Wes Warnock told us the carrier experienced heavy network congestion immediately after the earthquake, which is to be expected. The company hasn’t discovered any damage to its wireless or wireline networks as a result of the earthquake.

Due to the overloaded networks, customers reported busy signals, error messages or just silence when they tried making a call, LA Times reports. The newspaper’s web site went down due to heavy traffic at one point as well. Sprint said it saw an 800 percent increase over normal call volume for at least 30 minutes following the quake. Verizon Wireless said its calls jumped even 40 percent higher than it predicts for during disasters.