Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A day spent in Redcliffe

Woke up around 2am this morning to work out why the Colubris device wasn't letting me NAT to the internal devices. Mainly because I wanted quick responses from the US based support folk. Turns out that something is suss about the link I had the equipment running on, even tho it was a definite unrestricted outside network. All worked fine at the client site...

Day started with me getting a couple of coffee's from macca's and arriving at work at around 7:45am. Willow turned up at 8 as arranged and after a bit of me catching up with the usual 'first thing' tasks we loaded up her nifty Astra and were on our way at 8:30. Traffic wasn't bad, trip took around 45min.

Unloaded the gear and got straight into hacking up their cabinet to squeeze in 30 odd 3m leads to patch all the units to the two Linkys SRW224 switches, don't know what I would have done without help from Willow (she's doing work experience with me on her RDO's from the TAFE). Once that was complete I then proceeded to destroy their phone system and render their phones useless for a period of a couple of hours. Turned out that their main extension is somehow hooked into the DSL line, beats me how DSL and a PBX system can be combined. I then worked out how their intraoffice cabling worked and got the Cisco DSL router hooked up.

Sorted out some configuration errors with the SAB Server and everything was go.

We had lunch at the Coffee Club on Redcliffe Pde.

Willow and I then ran around like idiots testing for a connection from each unit and marking which point has the data on it. Manage to locate 5/6 units that didn't have any connection - left that for the cable monkey to deal with.

There's still a few little things that need to be tidied up but its all there and working for anyone who wants to walk in on Friday and use it. So if anyone is seeking a place to stay in Redcliffe, call into the La Vida on Anzac - 41 Anzac Ave, Redcliffe. QLD.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Electricity is a good thing

A site went down today because Energex was doing PLANNED work on the buildings. Pity the client didn't forewarn us of this pre-arranged power outage. So a mad rush later and the site is back up using the handy generator we keep handy for such occasions.

On a funnier note, Don had to borrow the GPA to quickly go see a prospective buyer of some bits on his old Range Rover. Can't wait to hear his comments. It takes people some time to get used to the right understear and left overstear, sticky rear brakes and dodgy electrics -- odometer doesn't work, fuel gauge works sometimes and the indicators can short out sometimes.

Now to start playing with the VDSL equipment...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Day of productivity

Optus woes cured (as expected - a MTU issue), La Vida equipment and configuration is all set to go for Tuesday (bar a PoE adaptor for the Linksys AP) and we successfully hooked up a new client to our Metroplex wifi network. Now I can concentrate on vehicle shopping and catching up on documentation.

Some pictures of the La Vida equipment on the bench:

The SMC Tiger VDSL switch and splitter for the Peninsular installation:

Optus upgrade woes

Yesterday morning Optus completed a scheduled upgrade of a core router in Brisbane. This is where our Sunshine Coast Frame Relay link terminates. Essentially a MPLS service. The upgrade entailed replacing the router with a larger chassis for scalability and hence the layer 1 and 2 configs would have changed as a result -- the probable cause of our issues.

After this upgrade we discovered that any sort of traffic that utilised larger packet sizes stopped working. This included traffic too and fro our database services and the Brisbane based webservices and any kind of secure connection such as online banking and eBay (noo!).

We circumvented the database woes by rerouting outgoing packets from the database server via our Telstra Frame link, creating a circular route. This is because the connection between the two would be established but the reply traffic was too large and the connection would time out. So now replies go out via Telstra and it all works fine -- this saves us having to change source addressing etc.

We're now waiting on the Optus network monkies to do their thing. As much as we love Optus, it just proves that you can't sit with any single provider and having a backup link with another is very worth while.

Now I have to start planning for the new installation at Brisbane today and try and resolve configuration issues with Colubris CN3200 that's going into La Vida on Tuesday.

The Dockside Marinanet upgrade went fine yesterday. We now have our own DSL with static IPs and the MT Router is happily running with its new config and software.

Looked at a few cars last night. There's a Nissan Navara Dualcab 2.4l ute for $14,000, only has 76,000 on the clock too. Real men drive utes.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Home once again

Probably the most eventful of my trips down the coast. Before leaving Mackay I went to the Mackay Marina as scheduled to meet the antenna guy to adjust the antenna. Since the meeting time was at 10am I had a half hour to kill as I had arrived at 9:30am, so I ordered myself breakfast and a coffee from the restaurant next door to the Marina office. It took a bit longer than I had expected to cook so I had to leave to assist the antenna guy. I told a nearby waitress that I would be back in about 10min. 10min later I arrive to see the owner eating my breakfast with a confused look on his face as he looked at me. Apparently the waitress didn't tell him that I would be back soon and so he ate my breakfast... 15min later I had my breakfast and another coffee for a discounted rate :)

Having had such a great start I managed to get to Rockhampton by around 2:30pm where a Magpie took it upon itself to fly into my front bumper. Poor little bugger, wasn't a whole lot I could do about that one - it was near the correctional center just north of the city. Must have been eating the stuff they give the crims.

After passing through Rocky I was starting to get jack of this driving stuff. There's only so much driving one can do in a week and I was up to my four thousandth kilometer. I then relised that I needed to swing past Gladstone to do the upgrade there *grumble*.

Arrived at Gympie at approximately 8:30pm and boosted my reserves at my arnty's place before heading off on the final stint to Nambour. So from 11am to 11pm on the road with a few breaks in between, screw that for a trip.

Hopefully I won't need to go back up for a while although it looks like I'll be doing it again in two months time anyway...

Monday, September 05, 2005

Magnetic Island installation

Its been ages since I last went to the island and it felt odd hopping off the ferry at Nelly Bay instead of Picnic bay. Fairly uneventful trip over, ocean was flat as a tack. It appears that tourism on the island has increased a great deal so instead of the occasional tourist and majority of locals there are probably a greater number of tourist now.

Turned out to be a fairly straight forward Marinanet installation. However there were a few issues with the internet side of things that were out of my control.

There was a pre-existing wifi link at the location and we agreed to share the internet supply that was fed by wireless. They supply internet to the backpackers lodge.

So having a wifi link already in place meant that a mast and equipment cabinet was there for me to use. I simply made up the antenna cable and plonked the antenna on the tip of the mast and then shoved the active equipment into the cabinet. Kept everything fairly neat and ended up with a cable run of no more than 2.5m -- double sided tape is quickly becoming my favorite 3M product. The mast needs better staying though, the addition of the waveguide created a greater sail and added top weight; they will organise that at a later date (hopefully before the cyclone season...).

Possible problems that could arise later are the more obvious issues involving the upstream provider -- the current connection is a Westnet business ADSL type which will soon be changing to a wireless link from the mainland with a fibre service behind it. Apart from that there are environmental issues that may need to be addressed. Such issues include the lack of ventilation of the equipment enclosure -- the WRAP became quite warm to the touch after no more than an hours use. This will either require a larger cabinet with vents or some kind of heat shield to insulate the cabinet from direct sun.

The usual pictures: