Category : Wireless

RIM/Blackberry Down – Switch Fails – Data Traffic Stifled

RIM has really created a monster today.  RIM global outage caused by core switch failure and the fix under way.  Also the backup system also didn’t work, RIM explains in detail in many press releases.  BlackBerry service delays experienced by users around the world on Tuesday were caused by a core switch failure within the infrastructure of Research in Motion (RIM), the company said late Tuesday.  A RIM spokesman said service was beginning to be restored to normal around 2 p.m. ET, although there would be further delays as backlogs in data are cleared. It was the second outage or “delay,” as RIM put it, in two days affecting users in numerous countries.  RIM’s system is designed to failover to a back-up switch, but the failover system “did not function as previously tested,” according to a statement issued by RIM at 5 p.m. ET.  When the failover did not function, a backlog of data was generated. The company is working to clear that backlog but have not given a date or time when all items will be resolved.  There should be automatic ways in which the system recovers from this type of event. Any vendor who runs this type of mission critical service must constantly be reviewing disaster recovery solutions.

The latest problems occurred in two phases, with a 12-hour outage Monday morning affecting some BlackBerry users in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, according to RIM. That problem was fixed, the company said, without explaining the cause.  Then at about 10 a.m. ET Tuesday, wireless carriers in the U.K. and Egypt reported outages that continued for hours.  RIM said an hour later that the delays affected some customers in South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India, but didn’t immediately offer an update about the underlying problem.
Tweets and other reports blamed a server outage in Slough, U.K., where RIM operates a data center, but the company would not comment on those reports. The Slough data center would serve much of Europe and the Middle East, analysts said. RIM also run a data center near its headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario.  But a data center outage in the U.K. or Canada probably wouldn’t explain service problems in South American countries, such as Brazil, Chile and Argentina, analysts noted.  RIM doesn’t usually explain the cause of its outages and disruptions. In the past, those outages have lasted one or two days and only in a certain region of a country or a portion of a continent, not over several continents as happened Monday and Tuesday.  In March 2010, there was an outage in both North America and the U.K. on Wi-Fi-ready BlackBerry devices that were not connected to Wi-Fi. A more severe December 2009 outage in North America was related to a BlackBerry Messenger update.

Buffalo Wireless-N Dual Band Ethernet Converter

I recently had the opportunity to test out the Buffalo Wireless-N Dual Band Ethernet Converter and I was impressed with its relative ease of use. Basically what the device does is it picks up your wireless signal and converts it to a physical connections. It allows you to physically connect devices to the network where there are no Ethernet connections. It is a relatively small device with 4 Ethernet ports on the back. It comes with an installation CD and a network cable.

I found this device rather easy to setup. All I had to do was plug it in, connect the cable, and install the software on my PC. The software is very light weight and quite simple. It allows you to pick which connection you want to use and in my case I used the physical connection. I set the device just for testing purposes to acquire an IP address automatically. The device will automatically scan for wireless networks. You just need to choose your network provide the device with your security settings (SSID, security type, passcode).

After doing all of the above, I saved the settings and restarted the device and my internet was running through the device and allowing my laptop to have internet access. This is perfect for devices that are not close to Ethernet ports including gaming consoles, printers, media players, IP Phones, and more. I would definitely use this at my own house, therefore I would recommend it to others. Check it out for yourself.

Cheap and Reliable Wireless Solution

Here in recent months bva has been asked by more than one client for a reliable wireless solution that can cover an internal and external office area.  There are several great products out there that are perfect but also become very expensive and can really rack up the cost after software, routers, and access points are purchased.  It really ends up being a very complex system that requires a server and management.  Of course that is one more unit to manage and patch, which can be painful.  bva‘s goal here is to make things easier and reduce management time if possible.  That being said we went out and tried to find a product that was hard-coded which was an appliance that really allows for easy management that is cost effective.  This solution is under $700 which gets you a router and two external/internal wireless access points.  This unit also comes with an easy GUI interface that allows easy management and control which is huge.  It is important to perform an assessment that addresses the following questions:

  • do you understand the architecture of the building; angles; materials (sheet-rock, block, metal, etc)?
  • needed access point frequency?
  • coverage area per square feet inside and outside areas?
  • physical limitations/other signals present?
  • what is power options for the proposed area?
  • connectivity for the AP locations needed to occupy?
  • do you have POE switches in that area or will each Access Point need it’s own power?