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 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.

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