Solana’s Latest Mainnet Upgrade Targets Persistent Network Congestion

By Aaron Feuerstein April 16, 2024 In Market Analysis, Solana
Solana blockchain data virtual infographics and businessman hands typing on laptop keyboard.
  • February’s Solana outage led to concerns about network maturity and diversity, spurring a significant update in April.
  • The v1.17.31 update, tested and rolled out to all validators, introduces technical enhancements to prevent future congestion.
  • Despite earlier issues, Solana earned ‘Best Blockchain of 2024’ for its high usage, speed, and low fees, underscored by the recent memecoin trend.

An outage on the Solana blockchain in February raised questions about the diversity of the network and its beta status. The outage, which lasted over five hours, sparked community backlash, with some questioning the efforts of expansion and onboarding new projects when the blockchain is not even completed and is a work-in-progress.

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Additionally, recent data from Dune Analytics revealed that over 75% of Solana’s “non-vote” transactions failed in early April, which is the highest failure rate recorded for the network to date.

This spike in failures coincided with a surge in memecoin activity on Solana, leading to widespread complaints from users about transaction failures and a poor user experience. However, Mert Mumtaz, CEO of Helius and a Solana advocate, argued that the data is misinterpreted, attributing the majority of these failures to “bot spam” rather than inherent network issues.


As a response, Solana developers have launched an update, v1.17.31, for the mainnet beta to address network congestion.

Released on April 12 and after three days of testing, it’s now recommended for all mainnet beta validators.

This update includes several technical enhancements aimed at improving congestion and is set to be followed by more improvements in the upcoming v1.18. Notable features of the patch include adjustments to packet handling and staking, and a directive for validators to upgrade only when delinquent stakes are below 5%.

According to official data, Solana has not experienced similar outages to that in February.


Analysis Reveals Bug at Fault

A recent post-mortem analysis by Anza identified a known bug as the cause of the outage. The bug triggered an infinite loop, leading validators to repeatedly process the same block and stalling the network.

After discovering the issue, validators managed to restart the network. An infinite loop in programming happens when a loop lacks a proper exit condition, causing endless repetition. In Solana’s case, this resulted in halted transaction processing.

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Amid the concerns about outages and congestion, Solana has recently scored the title ‘Best Blockchain of 2024’. CoinGecko, who is behind that interesting title, praised Solana for its high traffic (sans bots of course) making it the most used/ popular blockchain.

Much of this comes on the back of the memecoin fad that has come upon us this year – but it highlights Solana’s speed and low fees – if the blockchain is up and running, that is.  

Aaron Feuerstein

Aaron Feuerstein

Aaron Feuerstein is a freelance writer based in Melbourne. His focus is on decentralised finance and the regulatory space surrounding blockchain. He holds a Master's in Accounting. When he is not studying the latest legal case, he enjoys his time as a modest but eager hobby cook.

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