Upgrades and Hardening Progress

Today, we finished upgrading our 251st Avenue neighborhood tower. Along with a brand-new ground-mounted extensible mast, we replaced the aging Engenius and Tranzeo radio equipment from 2008 with new MikroTiks, both at the tower itself and at all our subscriber sites. The new equipment runs in the 5MHz band using the NV2 protocol, eliminating interference with household WiFi routers while providing a much stronger and clearer signal to subscribers.

We also added and aimed the 251st Avenue end of our planned Castle Hot Springs-to-251st Avenue inter-tower link, to harden the network against single link dropouts.

In the process of erecting this tower, we learned a few valuable things about powering certain of the new MikroTik models—a topic we’ll be discussing in our next blog entry for the benefit of industry colleagues (subscribers can ignore that posting).

Coincidentally, while we were up on the roof in the 103° sun at 251st Avenue, our Morristown router decided to go catatonic, throwing our east side subscribers offline for most of an hour. Once subscribers called in to notify us there was a problem, we phoned back to the site to have a non-technician power-cycle the router, and the network came back. Thanks to those subscribers who are prompt to let us know something is amiss, since we’re not always able to be online to notice it for ourselves.

Two Brief Maintenance Notes

  1. CenturyLink will be interrupting our service sometime between midnight and 6 AM on Thursday, August 7, to replace some legacy US West equipment in Wickenburg. The outage should last no longer than 15 minutes.
  2. Several subscribers have called in reports of their network service operating in fits and starts and/or not connecting at all to certain sites. The complaints involve three separate towers, but every report comes from a subscriber using our legacy Engenius equipment. We’ve been working this issue for two days, and will continue to work it until we find and eradicate it.