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.