Monday, July 02, 2007

Los Angeles! Albuquerque! Denver! The updates! The updates!

I've been getting many a query from you Internet2 upgrade blog junkies asking whether I was dead or had just turned my back on this whole ballyhoo. Fortunately, neither. I'm very much alive and things have very much been moving forward. I had anticipated a bit of a lull over the last few weeks, but I was (sadly) mistaken. Just a rundown of the big things:

Los Angeles
Savvy I2 blog readers will recall that the Los Angeles router was slated to be installed two weeks ago. We pushed that out a week to accomodate for some power controller installations. We really hate doing DC power from the house since we don't control both ends. So, we went out last week. But there was one, glaring problem: no router. There were a whole host of scheduling mishaps between Fedex and Qwest in Kansas City that meant our router didn't get shipped the prior week. We finally got Fedex on-site on Wednesday to ship it overnight to Los Angeles, but fate decided to stick her long ugly nose into things. There were actually two crates at the Kansas City POP. One contained the router that was going to Los Angeles using Fedex Express Freight. (Note the italicizing of Express Freight. Very important.) The other contained the reclaimed flotsam from the Abilene rack that was going Fedex Freight back to Bloomington. Unfortunately, both got picked up by regular Freight, which meant no guaranteed delivery times in Los Angeles. Up until the very end, it looked like things were going to work out, but it wasn't meant to be. Fate 1, Upgrade Team 0. So, we're sending two engineers back out tomorrow to finish the install and commission the node. They're going to miss all the area fireworks, so they deserve a round of applause

Though the Ciena was installed in Albuquerque in early June, the phone line proved to be more troublesome than we thought. The Qwest phone group is totally separate than the Qwest transport group, meaning that it was essentially two different companies talking to each other. That slowed things down to the typical speed we'd see with most phone line installs. Add the fact that the Albuquerque POP is essentially a bundle of disjoint buildings in the desert, and you have a recipe for slowness. Fortunately, Tom Johnson stayed on top of things and we got the phone line delivered last Tuesday. The cross-connect into our equipment was completed on Friday. In the interim, ESNET graciously helped us out with a Layer2 VPN to the Washington DC POP so we could commission the node. (Recall that we don't turn the Ciena nodes up. Ciena does.) That paved the way to get the University of New Mexico connected and working up to Salt Lake City.

Aside from UNM, there were a few others on the Denver router, which we plan to pull out next week. Both Front Range Gigapop and the Utah Education Network are up on the new router and passing traffic. There was a bit of scare when the fiber cross-connect in SLC wouldn't allow us to ping the remote ends. Turns out it was a hardware problem with our router card. Got it replaced and everything looks spiffy


So what's next for our intrepid crew? Not too much left, really- in terms of physical work. We're yanking Denver next week. It's being sent to Houston where it will be installed two weeks later (to allow time for the power controllers to be installed). After that, there's a pending Ciena install in Seattle, but we don't have a time frame nailed down for that. There's obviously a lot of work left to transition customers to the new network in LA and Houston, but most of that is something that can be done remotely. Of course, we have to pull out the Sunnyvale, LA and Houston routers at some point in the next few months. I'm working on solidifying that schedule right now.