Last Friday, our consultant told us he couldn’t commit for sure as to whether the limiting factor in the speed of our gateway was CenturyLink’s equipment or our own, and recommended we upgrade to beefier equipment just to get off the edge of doubt. So after a flurry of express equipment orders, we now have one of MikroTik’s burliest routers (nine cores, rated for 28Gbps), fully configured and in position at our gateway, ready to accept a cutover of our new double-speed circuit.
Tomorrow, we plan to recable our existing tower equipment into the new router (a rigorous task, involving tall ladders and large hole saws). Because our network is configured as a giant ring, we can disconnect and transfer one leg at a time, which should allow us to cut over the bulk of our subscribers with no more than a 30-second service interruption.
Those few subscribers being served directly by our downtown Wickenburg AP on the gateway tower itself will be an exception, as there is only a single path cable that we must disconnect, reroute, and reconnect. We hope to keep their outage period down to no more than 15 minutes.
When we’re done, we will either be operating at our full gateway capacity, or we won’t. In the latter case we already have a come-together meeting scheduled with CenturyLink early Monday morning.
If you’ve been wondering for the last week if this is as good as it’s going to get, it isn’t — far from it.
Our new speed increase turned out to be not as plug-and-play as it should have been. We’re getting only about a 10-25% speed increase during peak periods, far short of the 100% increase we ordered. This is true even when we test the circuit directly without any portion of our private network involved. At this point, it appears the speed limitation is occurring somewhere in CenturyLink’s network.
Although we are currently operating on the new fiber circuit, because it’s marginally faster than our old circuit, we have not accepted the cutover as compliant with our order. We are working with CenturyLink as well as an independent consultant to isolate and resolve the speed issues. Our progress has been slowed somewhat by the unavailability of CenturyLink personnel to work this problem.
This speed improvement is our highest-priority issue. We’ll put out short bulletins as necessary, to keep you informed.
CenturyLink took much longer than scheduled yesterday to cut us over to our new, faster fiber service. We still need to perform final acceptance testing to certify that we are receiving the speed we are purchasing.
This process needs to be completed by 5 o’clock today, so we will need to take our service offline briefly at 4 o’clock while we test the raw connection speed at the interface. This testing should take only 10 to 15 minutes. We apologize for the interruption of service.
We’re scheduling a brief interruption in service this Friday morning (January 8) between 6:00 and 7:00 AM, to execute a cutover to our brand new fiber circuit — replacing our old copper circuit with twice the bandwidth, to feed our growing network and reduce peak-hour congestion.
Since this is only CenturyLink’s second fiber installation in all Wickenburg, we’re crossing our fingers that the cutover will go smoothly with no false starts. If so, we expect to have our internal network tuned to utilize the new speed fully by 11:00 AM or so.
We appreciate your patience in waiting for this long-overdue upgrade, and we will continue to work hard to make sure you enjoy a zippier and more exhilarating Internet experience.