About GrandAveBB

CD owns and operates Grand Avenue Broadband, a Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP) in a rural Sonoran Desert area of Arizona.

What Proposition 126 will mean to your service bill

I’ve seen a lot of confusing recommendations thrown around recently concerning Proposition 126, the proposal that will prevent the legislature from taxing service businesses.

Here’s our take on Prop 126 — straightforward and uncomplicated.

Right now, neither the counties nor the state tax a wide variety of services — health care, pet care, accounting, legal representation, real estate services, and the like.

This list includes our three major offerings: Internet service, computer repair, and technical assistance and consulting. 

Right now, you don’t pay tax on these. That makes your life less expensive, and it makes ours much less complicated. We’d like that to remain unchanged, and we hope you do as well.

If Proposition 126 fails and we are forced to collect tax on these services, our prices will not only have to reflect the new tax, but the administrative costs to us of collecting, remitting, and accounting for this new tax.

Proposition 126 is one of those confusing propositions where you have to vote yes to prevent a new tax. Please keep this in mind when you vote. Thank you.

Downtown Tower Upgrade

We will be replacing the aging and increasingly problematic service radio atop Downtown Tower late tomorrow morning (Wednesday 10/10) with a new and faster unit. Expect an outage of 10-15 minutes as the old unit is unbolted and the new unit secured. This outage will affect only users served directly by Downtown Wickenburg Tower — subscribers served by all other towers will be unaffected.

Tower slowdowns

We’re experiencing an issue with some of our towers in which the speed to subscribers degrades as equipment uptime increases. Towers identified so far have included Skip-In Ranch Tower, Downtown Tower, and all three APs on Morristown Tower.  In all cases, power-cycling the radio unit restores full performance.

Our equipment manufacturer, MikroTik, suspects a memory leak in their OS, and has asked us to provide them with diagnostic dumps from the affected equipment, which we are in the process of assembling for them today.

While we wait for a response from MikroTik, we’ll be setting up an automatic powercycle schedule on the affected towers. This will result in an approximately four-minute interruption of service between 2:00-4:00 AM several times each week at these towers. We hope to have this periodic refresh cycle operational by Monday.

Cutover still pending

This morning’s trunk cutover failed to take place, with CenturyLink making the attempt to switch circuits but ultimately delivering no traffic. Next-tier engineers at CenturyLink are scheduled to be diagnosing the issue, and we’ll be setting up a new cutover time once they inform us they have the problem figured out.

Trunk cutover Thursday AM

Tomorrow morning (Thursday, August 23), between 6:00 and 7:30 AM, CenturyLink will be moving our gateway service (our trunk connection to the greater Internet) onto a different fiber link. We expect an outage blip of about 15-30 seconds during that time period, barring complications. If complications occur, we will revert to the original fiber link as expeditiously as possible and reschedule the cutover. We regret the short notice, but we received this scheduling information only this morning.

Mockingbird blip slipped

We placed an order for new armored power cabling for Mockingbird Tower late last Tuesday (UPS three-day) with a new cable dealer who loudly advertises “same-day shipping.” They didn’t actually ship our order until Friday evening (without telling us)… so the cable, originally planned to arrive Monday (Tuesday at latest), still hasn’t shown up and we don’t know what time it will arrive.

This has forced us to postpone today’s tower upgrade to next Wednesday, the 25th. With luck, we’ll be able to dodge monsoon power outages for one extra week.

 

Mockingbird blip Wednesday

This Wednesday (7/18) around mid-day, we’re going to be upgrading the power supply and power cabling at Mockingbird Tower. We’re going to continue running on the existing cabling until we get everything laid out and ready to go, at which time we’ll cut over to the new power feed. If everything goes as planned, there will be no interruption in tower service at all; if it doesn’t, subscribers served directly by Mockingbird Tower might experience at most a two-minute outage as the tower resets. (No other subscribers will be affected by this maintenance.)

Part of the upgrade includes a battery backup system designed to be able to operate the tower for over an hour, to ride out any short-term monsoon-induced power outages that may affect Mockingbird Hill. In addition, relieving our power crunch on this tower should also help improve speeds to our Rio Vista tower subscribers.

CenturyLink service interruption July 19

CenturyLink has informed us that they intend to interrupt service to our entire network temporarily between 3:00 and 6:00 AM on July 19. The interruption is to perform maintenance on one of their routers in Phoenix that serves a large number of customers in our area of the state. The interruption may or may not require the entire time period; service should resume in any case 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.

Does your PC have worms?

Our wholesale bandwidth provider, CenturyLink, has informed us that one or more of our subscribers is running a Windows PC infected with the Conficker (also called Downadup) worm, which is making attempts to spread from our network into their equipment. CenturyLink has asked us to provide our subscribers with the following notification:

CenturyLink recommends that you patch all Windows operating systems, as described in Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-067. In the event that you are unable to update your antivirus program to remove the worm, you may need to seek assistance from a computer professional to effectively remove the worm and update your antivirus protection. Please note that you may need to reinstall updated antivirus software after the worm is removed to restore protection.

If you’re running a PC, please take the time to download and run the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool, and follow up by downloading and installing all outstanding upgrades to whatever antivirus package you use. Old versions of Windows (notably XP or older) are particularly vulnerable to this infection.

Conficker does not infect MacOS, Linux, smartphones, tablets, or smart devices.

Thank you for your cooperation.

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.