SMS In Emergency

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by DMVillain, Aug 23, 2011.

  1. DMVillain macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    #1
    I live in the DC area. Today in the aftermath of the earthquake it was impossible for me (or anyone around me using the major carriers) to get a call through. My question is why was SMS so reliable? Will iMessage be as reliable when it is released with iOS 5?
     
  2. Trauma1 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    #2
    iMessages travel through the internet, not the SMS channels.
     
  3. DMVillain thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    #3
    Oh, ok. In other words, if data goes out, so will iMessage. Thank you.
     
  4. diamond.g macrumors 603

    diamond.g

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    Location:
    Virginia
    #4
    Yeah iMessage sucked yesterday. I was in Crystal City... It wasn't until around 4pm or so that calls could even get through reliably (on AT&T). Oddly enough my BB (t-mobile) had internet access.


    I hope Apple has it flip to SMS (not MMS) faster in GM.
     
  5. dwl017 macrumors 6502a

    dwl017

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2007
    Location:
    Murder Capitol DC
    #5
    Simply amazing! the very reason that some folks actually a buy a cell phone and go figure it does not work in an emergency situation. The three major players spend billions advertising the fastest network with 3G 4G etc.. and in the nations capitol just a few blocks from the white house I could not call my wife to ask if the family was ok.
     
  6. iFiend macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
    #6
    This.

    Fortunately I have Beejive on my phone and I was able to talk to my girlfriend on Gchat with zero problems.
     
  7. diamond.g macrumors 603

    diamond.g

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    Location:
    Virginia
    #7
    To be honest landlines are supposed to be more reliable. There isn't enough bandwidth and timeslots to accomodate the sheer number of folks that want to make calls during emergencies. Sadly, since these are for profit companies we can't expect them to build out the network with such emergencies in mind. As it would cut into profits.
     
  8. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #8
    Maybe it is me on Verizon but I could not send or receive an SMS for about 20-25 minutes after the earthshake. Could it be because I was on wifi?
     
  9. diamond.g macrumors 603

    diamond.g

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    Location:
    Virginia
    #9
    SMS doesn't use wifi.
     
  10. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #10
    I realize that but there are tons of reports that SMS was the only reliable options yesterday and yet, I was stuck with the "message failed" repeatedly on VZW. No jokes about VZW in general, I was simply trying to trouble shoot.
     
  11. diamond.g macrumors 603

    diamond.g

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    Location:
    Virginia
    #11
    Ah. Yeah I am not sure why you couldn't send SMS yesterday. As long as you have a signal you should have been able to send an SMS. But then again, if voice was working on Verizon, there may not have been enough bandwidth...


    Of course if there wasn't enough bandwidth why would you show having a full signal...
     
  12. barkomatic macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2008
    Location:
    Manhattan
    #12
    A cell phone is great in a personal emergency but not a regional or national emergency. Sorry to say it, but your iPhone will be a useless brick every time there is even a somewhat significant event like this. If you want a phone that operates reliably during disasters you'll need to pick up a satellite phone. But, they are insanely expensive. You need to come up with an emergency plan that doesn't rely on cell phone communication.

    FYI, if there is ever a truly devastating emergency you won't be able to run to the store for a gallon of milk either.
     
  13. diamond.g macrumors 603

    diamond.g

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    Location:
    Virginia
    #13
    or bread or water (yet meat tends to be abundant, wonder why...)
     
  14. DMVillain thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    #14
    Yeah, I work in the County Admin Buuilding in Upper Marlboro, no one could call but I could text just fine. Interestingly enough, I could call my family in Detroit and Savannah just fine though. Also my mom's landline at the Census Bureau in Suitland went thorugh and even my dad (who has a NoVA area code) as he was in Boston at the time, but no local cell calls. My dad said that on 9/11 it was the same, so I can imagine now that everyone has a cellphone it could have been worse. Guess I need a walkie talkie....
     
  15. Hankster macrumors 68020

    Hankster

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Location:
    Washington DC
    #15
    Wow, so I'm assuming you expected cell phones to work when 9/11 happened? Are you blaming ATT, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint for not having a network strong enough to deal with emergencies?

    Perhaps you need to stop relying so much on cell phones. I didn't expect my cell phone to work after the earthquake. It's common sense. And, as you could EASILY see on TV or any radio broadcast there was ZERO injuries and VERY MINOR structural damage.

    Cell phones are not guaranteed to work 24/7, and I wouldn't place my life on the line with a cell phone.

    PS: I live right in DC and my ATT iPhone was working within 20 minutes after the earthquake.
     
  16. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    #16
    It's not, really. SMS just needs a smaller "window" to send the message versus what a voice call requires.

    Emergency and disaster are 2 different things. Nothing wrong with relying on a cell for emergencies. Relying on a cell in a disaster, on the other hand, is foolish (see above).
     
  17. wordoflife macrumors 604

    wordoflife

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2009
    #17
    At concerts, the same thing happens.
    Calls do not go through, but SMS does
     
  18. kdarling macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2007
    Location:
    Cabin by a lake
    #18
    It's not possible for a cell site to handle too many users at one time due to bandwidth / noise.

    Worse, the signaling channels used for rings / texts can get overloaded. Especially with SMS, it's possible to create conditions where texts and calls cannot get through at all. It used to be very easy to do a denial of service attack simply using geographically targeted texts.

    In the Washington DC area, there could be another little known factor as well: important emergency responders and government officials can have their phones tagged with a higher priority for getting a slot (the Wireless Priority Service).
     

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