Repaving the Information Highway

In a week or three, CenturyLink should be completing our recent order to double our gateway speed, resulting in our having more than three times the network bandwidth we had only one month ago.

Unfortunately for us, just having all this new speed available at the gateway doesn’t automatically make it accessible to all our subscribers.

For the past several weeks, a phrase has been looping through my mind from Larry Niven’s “A World Out of Time.” Tasked with a 200-year intergalactic voyage, the bulk of which he must spend in cryogenic stasis, the story’s hero is subjected to a rigorous dietary regimen to ensure his surviving the journey: before each cold-sleep session, it is crucial for him to “grow fat… and exercise to distribute the fat.”

This passage echoes in my head because it’s a perfect description of our current challenge. Continue reading

Red light means go!

A number of our subscribers for whom we have installed wall-mounted MikroTik mAP access points have called us, concerned that they might have a network problem because a red light was showing on their unit.

The light in question is normal. It indicates that the WiFi unit is supplying power to the roof-mounted radio unit over its ethernet cable (hence the label “PoE out,” “power over ethernet”).  This particular model of access point is the only MikroTIk device we supply to subscribers that offers the PoE pass-through feature, which allows us to power both your WiFi access point and your roof unit with only a single power supply.

In general, different MikroTik units can come equipped with red, blue, green, orange, or yellow LEDs. In some of the higher-end models, the same LEDs can show different colors under different circumstances… but on none of them (to our knowledge) does the color of the LED itself ever indicate an error condition. In all circumstances, MikroTik uses the color red or orange to indicate only that the unit is supplying power to some other unit.

So rest easy—this red light means only that all of your systems are go!

Ready… get reset… stop!

Hillary's "reset" button

Click image for the story of this “reset” button…

Take it from a world-famous politician: a “reset button” doesn’t always do what you thought it would, or meant it to. Sometimes it creates problems instead of solving them.

The WiFi units Grand Avenue Broadband offers to subscribers all feature reset buttons.

Please don’t press them!

Units we deliver to you have your customized network name, passwords, frequencies, and addressing configured into them, so that they work on your account and don’t interfere with the signal from your home tower. Reset buttons reset equipment to factory defaults, which include none of those things.

Fortunately, the reset buttons on our units are disabled at most times. However, if you do manage to reset your WiFi unit, its configuration will need to be re-established. Often, we will be able to do this from our central site; at times, it may require a housecall.  Either way, there will be a peregruzka—a “surcharge”—for the service.

Mockingbird, Easy Street upgrades Monday

We were quite pleased with the smoothness of today’s whole-network speed upgrade, coordinated between and performed by us and CenturyLink, resulting in under 60 seconds of downtime at 7:30 AM.

Our next task is to better distribute the additional speed among our towers. To that end, we’re spending Monday on upgrades to Easy Street and Mockingbird towers. Continue reading