Yes, we’re working on performance problems

Our router manufacturer issued a software upgrade on Monday to close an “exploitable hole” that put the security of our network and your data at risk. Unfortunately, they issued the fix first in the “new features” release chain, and were delayed issuing it in the “current bugfix” release chain. Unwilling to delay, we took a leap of faith and installed the “new features” release to get the security hole closed as promptly as possible.

Our faith was betrayed.

We are currently re-installing the (finally available) “current bugfix” release with the security patch on all the routers in our network. Since this is technically a downgrade, the installation is much less automatic and much more labor-intensive than the original upgrade, needing to be performed manually on upwards of 200 machines, certain of which are barely communicating well enough at the moment to load the software. We ask your patience while we back out the misbehaving wireless software suite installed earlier this week.

A great week,
 and a great 11 years

This week our tower bandwidth improvement project is for all practical purposes complete. Read on to learn about the improvements we’ve made to our performance in Wickenburg and Morristown… plus a little bit of nostalgia in celebration of our 11th anniversary. Continue reading

Brief Downtown Tower outage Tuesday

Recently, we determined that our Downtown Wickenburg Tower was exhibiting impaired performance depending on how long it was continuously operational. While awaiting the manufacturer’s diagnosis, we put a script in place to reboot this unit in the wee hours every four days, to keep it operating at peak.

The manufacturer replied today with the suggestion that reinitializing the unit from scratch should return it to proper operation. We’ll be performing this procedure around noon on Tuesday (tomorrow). This will result in a service outage of 10-15 minutes, which will affect only users directly served by Downtown Tower. We hope this will result in improved performance for our Downtown subscribers.

Morristown Tower East maintenance Wednesday

We’ve determined from subscriber feedback and subsequent testing that the east sector of Morristown Tower is not functioning properly and is delivering insufficient bandwidth. We’ll be replacing that unit Wednesday morning sometime between 9:15 and 10:30.  This will involve an outage of 10-15 minutes, that should affect only Morristown Tower subscribers east of the 267th Avenue alignment.

CenturyLink service interruption April 1

CenturyLink has informed us that they are likely to be disconnecting our network from the greater Internet temporarily between 3:00 and 6:00 AM on April 1. The interruption is to introduce new routing equipment at their premises and migrate some of their existing traffic to reduce load and reduce the likelihood of customer service interruptions. Service should resume no later than 6:00 AM.

This far in advance of the scheduled date, there is a good chance that CenturyLink may reschedule this interruption one or more times before it actually occurs. We will report any changes to the scheduled date and time as notice is received.

Update (April 1): Upgrade was achieved cleanly between 3:50 and 4:04 this morning.

Wednesday: interruptions for performance improvements

Since our last post, we’ve been hard at work on a new system to deliver more bandwidth to our four neighborhood towers in west Wickenburg, and to ramp our popular Mockingbird Tower up to the speeds necessary to support our increasing subscriber levels.

Subscribers of all our towers from Mockingbird Road westward may encounter some brief (5-20 minute) network interruptions this coming Wednesday at staggered times of the day, as we perform certain of the equipment upgrades described below.

Here are some details about what we’ve been doing, how far along we’ve gotten, and what we hope to accomplish Wednesday. Continue reading

Possible Diamondback work today

There’s about a 70% chance that we will have an opportunity this afternoon (Wednesday 1/31) to be able to perform an equipment upgrade at Diamondback Tower. Subscribers served by that tower may encounter several brief (about two minute) outages, along with possibly somewhat slower performance from the temporary mast we’ll be setting up to provide service while the original tower is being re-engineered. This work will affect only subscribers served by Diamondback Tower.

The Wrenched Connection

Each week, we get one or two “my Internet doesn’t work” calls from subscribers. Unless we’ve had a recent weather event (such as a wind or lightning storm), the cause is almost always never our network or equipment. Even more regrettable is when a subscriber calls to tell us their Internet has been down for a day or more, when simple remedial action by the subscriber could have restored service immediately.

Here’s a brief refresher on what to do before calling us for service: Continue reading

CenturyLink Outage Plan

CenturyLink has informed us of a 15-minute service outage planned for next Wednesday (the 15th), sometime between midnight and 6 AM. This will affect all subscribers.

CenturyLink maintenance schedules typically change once or twice as the original announced date approaches. If this happens, we will publish a corrected posting.

Thank you for using Grand Avenue Broadband.

Nasty KRACK

This week’s networking crisis is that black-hats have found another way to violate your privacy. Called the KRACK exploit, it allows hackers to spoof WiFi protocol so as to break its encryption and read your traffic.

It’s worth pointing out that this is not just a zero-day bug in some manufacturer’s implementation—it’s a defect in the WiFi standard itself, and all WiFi (802.11) encryption is vulnerable to it. It does require a hacker to be close enough to have physical access to your radio signal.

We wanted to let you know what we were doing about it, and also what you should be doing about it yourself. Continue reading