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What O.J., Katrina, and 9/11 did to AT&T's network

Major events create serious traffic jams on even the most robust mobile networks.

East Coast earthquake

AT&T NY earthquake volume

On Aug. 23, 2011, the east coast of the United States was hit with a rare earthquake. The epicenter was in Virginia, but the tremors could be felt as far away as New England.

The colored lines show connections in AT&T's network infrastructure that exceeded certain capacity thresholds -- not necessarily outages, but a sign of much of higher-than-average traffic.

Up and down the East Coast, AT&T's network was flooded with voice and data traffic. Most wireless networks went down for a short period of time in New York and Washington immediately after the earthquake.

In another version of the map, AT&T could actually see the earthquake moving up the East Coast in near-real time as call volume and data traffic exploded.

  @DavidGoldmanCNN - Last updated October 09 2012 06:46 AM ET