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Solana developers share 3 key mitigation steps to make network resilient

The Solana network faced its seventh outage on April 30, resulting in over seven hours of downtime. The development team has released an outage report along with three key mitigation steps to make the network more resilient.

The network outage on Solana was caused by a significant increase in the number of transactions due to non-fungible token (NFT) mining bots. The bots used Candy Machine, a popular application used by Solana NFT projects to launch collections.

Transaction volume reached 6 million per second, flooding individual nodes with 100 Gbps data. As a result, the validators ran out of data storage, leading to a loss of consensus among them.

The developers ruled out DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks and blamed NFT mining bots for the overload. The network went live on Sunday, May 1st at 03:30 UTC.

The official report highlighted three key mitigation steps that are in the works to make the Solana network more resilient to such congestion issues. The first big step is to switch from its current data transfer protocol called User Datagram Protocol (UDP) to the UDP fast internet connection (QUIC) developed by Google. QUIC offers fast asynchronous communication like UDP, but with sessions and flow control like Transmission Control Protocol.

The second major step is the integration of stake-weighted transaction processing in place of the current first-come, first-served basis. The developers claimed that using weighted transaction processing together with QUIC would be more robust.

The third mitigation step is to introduce a “fee-based execution priority” where users would have the option to add an additional fee on top of the base fee. Charge prioritization is fixed for version v1.11.

Related: Solana DAOs can now eavesdrop on you using phone calls and text messages

Aside from the Solana network outage, an even bigger controversy was the beta cluster restart instructions reportedly issued by validator operators. Said instructions asked validators to manually block NFT minting bots at the L1 level.

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Solana Beta Cluster Reboot Instructions Source: Twitter

However, Solana’s head of communications, Austin Federa, said that the majority of validators stayed away from the censorship and a new update is rolling out for the Candy Machine with additional anti-bot features.