Upgrade trifecta

Dave works his magic on our 251st Avenue tower.

Today’s upgrades were uniformly satisfying.

We added significant bandwidth to feed Skip-In Ranch and all the towers in Morristown; plus additional bandwidth to Mockingbird and Rio Vista towers; plus increased bandwidth between the Morristown hub and the 251st Avenue and Castle Hot Springs towers.

In addition, we installed a new northward-facing AP on the 251st Avenue tower to serve the growing number of subscribers located on the east side of Castle Hot Springs Road who can’t access their nearest neighborhood tower (Castle Hot Springs) due to an intervening hill. These subscribers are now benefiting from 8-10dB better signal (about eight times the previous signal), as well as the additional bandwidth available at their tower.

We also corrected a mysterious configuration gremlin that was causing decreased signal to our subscribers in Grantham Ranch.

We hope today’s work will make your Internet experience more enjoyable.

Morristown upgrade Friday morning; possible Mockingbird upgrade Friday afternoon

Just a brief notification that the upgrade work to the WIckenburg/Morristown link is scheduled for tomorrow morning (Friday) between 9:00 and noon.

Depending entirely on time available, it is possible that similar upgrade work may be performed on the Wickenburg/Mockingbird link sometime in the afternoon, to provide even more bandwidth there. This would temporarily affect network performance to all the towers mentioned in our previous notification, with the addition of Mockingbird and Rio Vista towers.

Thank you for being a part of Grand Avenue Broadband.

 

Morristown Upgrade, Stage II

Tower climber

Dave installs Stage I…

The equipment needed for stage II of the Morristown bandwidth upgrade arrives this week, and we plan to be installing it on either Thursday or Friday morning.

This is the gear needed to complete the “full link” upgrade of our feed from Wickenburg, providing additional bandwidth to our east-end subscribers over and above the “half link” upgrade installed four weeks ago.

Subscribers served by east-end towers may see some short service burps and lower performance for roughly a 20-minute period sometime between the hours of 9:00 AM and noon, as our network compensates for the temporarily missing link by routing Wickenburg traffic over slower alternate routes.

Subscribers of these towers will be affected:

  • Morristown
  • Skip-In Ranch
  • Castle Hot Springs
  • 251st Avenue
  • Dixileta

We’ll post a brief notice like this one once we are certain of the day of installation.

Work continues Wednesday 20th

Last Wednesday’s installment in our bandwidth improvement effort surpassed our expectations. Despite the fact that we had only enough time to deploy half the planned link (due to the structural enhancements we had to add to the tower to handle the heavier equipment), we managed to increase bandwidth to Mockingbird tower significantly via its backup link, plus we determined that the leftover half of the high-speed link could be more effectively employed elsewhere. 

Tomorrow, we hope to be able to install improved equipment on the inbound side of both our Skip-In link (the main line to Morristown and all points east) and our primary link to Mockingbird Tower. As this involves some high-tower work, it will be slower, and some of the transitions may be less than smooth.

Although our existing redundant paths help ensure that your Internet availability will never be entirely severed, you may experience some “brownouts” as our system determines in real time that primary paths have gone black, and temporarily switches to secondary paths that will serve some of our towers somewhat more slowly. Short of unplanned disaster, the perturbations should not persist past 5 PM.

Thank you for your patience as we work to bring speedier Internet access to our ever-growing network of subscribers.

Tower Maintenance: 251st Ave.

We will be increasing the capacity of 251st Avenue tower this Tuesday, December 12, between 9 AM and 2 PM. Users served by this tower, as well as by Dixileta and Circle City towers, may experience brief (<10 minute) outage periods as equipment is detached and replaced. Users served by Castle Hot Springs tower may experience mild slowdowns as data is shunted through that tower to serve 251st Avenue during times when the primary link units to 251st Avenue are being replaced.

Skip-In Ranch: Unscheduled outages

Our Skip-In Ranch tower host is having major residential renovation performed. This has led to a half dozen or so outages to Skip-In Ranch tower subscribers over the past several weeks, as workmen turn off circuit breakers, work on the roof in the vicinity of our mast, or remove and replace our indoor equipment for framing, drywall, and painting work. (Subscribers of our Morristown towers may experience micro-outages when any existing sessions through the Skip-In Ranch long link reroute through the Mockingbird long link.)

We’ve successfully educated the foreman about what breakers and components interrupt our service, to the point where at least the workmen no longer disable us indefinitely. Although we still don’t get advance notification of these outages, they do take pains to keep them as brief as possible. We’re all hoping that this renovation progresses quickly and completes soon.

Construction-related congestion

As you know if you have been keeping up with this blog, we have a new fiber circuit on order from CenturyLink that will double the bandwidth at our Wickenburg gateway to the Internet. While we’re awaiting that installation, we have been planning ahead to ensure that we will be able to distribute this new bandwidth evenly across our entire network without artificial bottlenecks.

Late this week, in preparation, we replaced several of the radios driving our long links between Morristown and Wickenburg with new and faster units. The new radio links are now operating at multiples of the speed of the old, and well over the speeds necessary to distribute the new bandwidth clear to Circle City.

However, despite the speed of the new radio links themselves, the effect on our overall speed on the Morristown side of our network seems to have been negative. We’re extremely concerned (and puzzled) by this result. Although we’ve been able to make a number of tuning changes to evade the worst of these performance issues, we haven’t yet identified an underlying cause.

We’re continuing to work this problem over the weekend, with consulting help as available, as long as necessary to ensure that this temporary disruption is solved expeditiously. We apologize for a less than seamless enhancement experience, and look forward to being able to deliver our upcoming bandwidth increase to you as efficiently as possible.

Robust or Bust!

Last Friday, we completed the upgrade of Castle Hot Springs tower, activating the redundant transmission link between that tower and 251st Avenue. All subscribers on our network are now immune to the failure of any single transmission link.

In conjunction with grounding improvements at Mockingbird Tower, which has eliminated our “every three months” radio replacement problem there, and the recent power supply upgrade and firewall review at our Wickenburg gateway, our network is now exhibiting higher reliability than ever before.

Thank you for continuing to allow us to be your broadband services provider.