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.

Possible Interruptions Wednesday 13th

Tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday the 13th) we will be upgrading equipment on Mockingbird Tower in conjunction with the first phase of our bandwidth improvement project. Subscribers homed to Mockingbird and Rio Vista towers may experience slower response and possibly some brief outages on the order of 10-15 minutes in the period between noon and 5 PM, as the tower may need to be rotated down out of service to replace radios at height. These interruptions should affect subscribers of those two towers only.

CenturyLink service interruption January 31

CenturyLink has informed us of a planned interruption of service of between one and three hours to our entire network, sometime between midnight and 6:00 AM on the morning of Thursday, January 31. The interruption is for “scheduled maintenance to upgrade routing engines in order to improve network reliability and to prevent future service interruptions to customer services.”

Occasionally, 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.

Service interruption 1 AM tonight

We will be reinitializing and re-securing our main gateway router tonight, in an attempt to correct some strange observed behavior on its part that may possibly be due to either corruption or infiltration. We hope this may also relieve some of the prime-time slowdown behavior we’ve encountered within the past month or so.

We expect our connection to the Internet to be interrupted for about 30 minutes sometime within the window of 01:00 to 02:00 tonight (Sunday morning the 30th). As always, our recorded message at 623-640-7883 will be kept updated for you to verify the status of our network.

CenturyLink service interruption January 8

CenturyLink has informed us of a possible interruption of service of between one and three hours to our entire network, sometime between midnight and 6:00 AM on the morning of Tuesday, January 8. The interruption is for “scheduled maintenance to upgrade equipment in order to add network capacity and prevent future service interruptions to customer services.”

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.

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.