Monday, 10 December 2012
Wednesday, 10 October 2012
We haven't removed any wired connections and students still have a pretty fast wired connection (much faster than WiFi), but even so, the wireless traffic is beating wired by over 2:1.
Obviously this information will be quite useful for forward planning and may help to justify more staff with wireless expertise, more involvement for us in the planning stages of new buildings and refurbs and a shift in infrastructure to a greater focus on wireless technologies.
From the graphs below you can see that wired connection traffic peaked at 348.4 Mb/s with an average of 122.1 Mb/s. Compare this with the wireless peak of 678.8 Mb/s and an average of 241.4 Mb/s and you can see the importance of wireless to students.
Friday, 5 October 2012
Thursday, 4 October 2012
A picture has been leaked all over the web that someone took from the Carphone Warehouse database. In it there is a code for a 'Nexus Asus 7in tablet 32GB WiFi Tegra 3'. If this is true then...
Thursday, 27 September 2012
The summer months are known to those in IT support as the time that stuff gets done. All those jobs you couldn't do because it would effect teaching, all the maintenance that was really needed to be done but you weren't allowed because of exams, the time when there are no students about so you can make as much noise and cause as much disruption as you need to.
This summer we have had one of our busiest summers ever.
You will probably know that tuition fees have risen this year (faq) for English universities when the government raised the cap on fees while simultaneously cutting funding. The response from our university, while being forced to raise fees, was to try to give the students more value for money. One of the main proposals in this strategy was for almost entire wireless coverage, to enable greater use of tablets, netbooks, etc in teaching and learning. This has meant almost doubling the size of our wireless infrastructure at the same time as loosing key members of staff responsible for the wireless network. Unfortunately that meant it was down to me to organise the roll out, and with the project being put back and put back due to work on teaching spaces, new buildings and the regular summer departments moves, this meant it came down to about two weeks in which to get all the installs done and a few days to get them working before student arrivals and registration.
After some hastily designed plans we managed to get nearly 50 switches installed along with nearly 700 wireless access points, taking our total up to 1,202. We have applied these new ones to a student template so in the future we can make changes to them without effecting the ones in teaching spaces, lecture theatres, hospitals, offices etc. This is simply because we are kind of entering the unknown here, we don't know what devices the students will bring and what they will use them for. Will they be sharing/streaming video and music? Gaming? Wireless printing? Peer-to-peer? We will just have to see, and see what effects this has on the network and bandwidth.
As a result of the extra wireless facility we have seen a huge increase over the number of authenticated devices at the same time last year:
While this was going on we had dozens of staff and department moves, refurbishments to teaching spaces and some new properties to be set up staff and students were moving in to. We also had a couple of temporary helpdesks set up for key collection weekend. Where students could come with their various hardware, software or registration issues. We find this is a good strategy so as not to come in Monday morning to 50+ fault forms and enough emails that would last a week to get through.
Friday, 21 September 2012
Thursday, 9 August 2012
Unfortunately it forced me to find another little annoyance with iOS. On my android (personal device) I can zoom in on the documents and they are perfectly clear and readable. However, when I do the same to the exact same document on the iPhone (work phone) it is a complete blur. Why?
I also have problems editing Dropbox documents on iOS that I don't on the Android version.
Combine this with the fact that Twitter has a number of fewer features on iOS than on Android (such as the ability to add to lists) and the iOS app keeps crashing, The Podcast app is so slow it is unusable, Safari lacks the features of the Android versions of Chrome or Dolphin, I keep having to approve new iTunes terms and conditions every time I update or try to download anything and half the free apps I have on Android would cost money on iTunes, it basically means I will not be having another iPhone or iPad. I would not have this one if I could.
Wednesday, 8 August 2012
Friday, 20 July 2012
As our institution is a Google Apps for Education user almost all our data is on Google now. Added to this I have had Android phones since the G1, so most of the apps I use are either linked to my smartphone or I use them on there (or in Chrome on my netbook).
It is currently only £159 (not that much for a tablet running the latest flavour of OS) and you get £15 credit to spend in the Play store (that now includes movies and books as well as apps and games).
It also seems it could be immune to my accident prone nature:
I came across a mildly funny video too that pitted Siri against Google Voice (the contest starts around the 3.30 mark):
Thursday, 19 July 2012
We had a report that a users phone had stopped working. I tried all the usual things, resetting the line, checking the handset and the cables, checking the socket. When I couldn't get anything out of the socket I then went back to where the digital and analogue cards feed onto the voice frame. I tried a phone straight off the frame and it worked, so nothing wrong with the phone system or the wiring on the frame.
As the socket had been working I went and had another look at it. I thought maybe the ring capacitor on the strip that sat between the the LJU socket and the incoming wires had gone.
Of course the socket had to be in the most difficult to get to part of the office (isn't this always the case fellow techs?). So after many minutes crawling around on the floor under and behind desks I managed to bypass the capacitor using Jelly Crimps.
Tuesday, 3 July 2012
Friday, 22 June 2012
We mentioned to them that, since our office move, we weren't able to see the screen with our network monitoring software on (we use Intermapper). An hour or so later look what we get:
Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Yet another email in this morning from somebody who says:
"if X and Y are out of contract why is it we have to buy a new handset, why are the new ones not provided free as part of the continuing contract - I don't understand why I need to generate an order including VAT for £1056 for 2 handsets?"
Tuesday, 15 May 2012
The student was reporting intermittent network connectivity issues but when we tried to find problem we couldn't replicate the issues she was having... until the flat upstairs turned their water on.
It turns out that there was a leak and this was filling the riser, where some stupid architect thought it would be a good idea to have sockets, with water.
The socket and cable was dripping and, as you can see from the pictures, black, rusty and full of water.
Informing the building owners, apparently this is a common issue.
Monday, 14 May 2012
We are moving offices this week and next and, despite this move being our own department, everything was still being done last minute. The switches have not yet arrived even though the staff have, hence the mess in the cab above. When they do arrive and we have put them in it should look more like this: cbites.blogspot.co.uk/first-install-of-new-switches.
I spent the weekend getting the wireless working, which had to be done for Monday morning.
We have deployed 15 x 1142 Cisco access points giving blanket coverage to all areas and, hopefully, the rear exterior of the building where people will be spending break times and having events in the summer months.
One of the major considerations was to be able to have enough access points for the number of users. We have over 150 staff and being an IT department it is expected that they will have a number of devices. Hopefully the wireless network will hold up to these demands and those of the near future.
A hiccup occurred yesterday where a number of access points did not come up. After various tests on the switch port, the access points, the sockets and the cabling, it seems we have a large number of faulty patch leads that provide no or intermittent connectivity. From the cable tests it appears like we have thousands that will have to go back. Highlighting the importance of not scrimping on quality when it comes to cables.
We also had a problem with a faulty connection into the patch panel. We could not find the problem but chopping it back and replacing it finally brought the connection up. What was meant to be a job for a few hours ended up taking a lot of the weekend. Especially having to get ladders to get into the ceilings on every floor.
A big thanks for our VPN connection, as I managed to do a few hours work from home so I was able to spend some time with the family while setting things up remotely.
Tuesday, 8 May 2012
If you go to the Chrome Web Store there is a collection of applications that will run from and save to your Google Drive:
Go to run and enter the following: %APPDATA%/Microsoft/Windows/SendTo
Then simply copy a link in to here for your Dropbox folder.
Now when you right-click a file or folder you have the option of 'Send to my Dropbox'.
This will also work for Google Drive, or whatever syncing storage service you use.
Thursday, 26 April 2012
Monday, 23 April 2012
Samsung has a teaser site that comes with the tagline 'A Whole New Universe'. Surely it's going to be about the Galaxy SIII, but they may be throwing a curve-ball. Anyway it is counting down to Midday today (Monday 23rd April) UK time.
If you are interested check it out here.
Thursday, 19 April 2012
We have some staff working far away from campus. They are in an annexe built with lottery money next to a hospice. The hospice has decided to knock this annexe down in order to extend their premises and graciously allowed the university staff to move into one of their old rooms while the building work was being done.
They would not allow the uni staff to use VPN (to access our financial system etc) so we have had to have a new line installed. We visited the site (myself and my manager) and agreed where the line would come into the comms room, that we would provide a switch and would trace the sockets back to the patch panel that needed connecting to our switch.
I was informed the line was installed, which we paid for, so went out to connect the wireless router and switch.
When I arrived I was informed by their Estates Manager that the line had not been put where we had agreed but thy had put it in another room.
Due to this 'change', they wanted us to rewire their existing sockets, install 6 new sockets, drill through their walls to install new cables and attach the switches and routers to the walls in a completely different place to what was agreed. All without any asbestos surveys or risk assessments, or any form of induction on to site.
Now the shock had rendered me almost speechless.
On top of that they were expecting us to provide all the cabling, sockets, tools etc and re-cable their rooms for free.
I have done many cabling jobs in the past, in the schools I used to work in, but I work as second-line support now. All I turned up with was a router, a switch and a Linkrunner. We have contractors that do the work to a set installation standard and we charge £275 per socket for the installation. I also know for a fact that (from the dealings we have with local teaching hospitals) the NHS do the same. This cheeky twonk was trying to get us to do all their network upgrade on the cheap.
For the sake of the staff that are due to move in, I pulled some cables though and put some trunking back up, but setting up the network connection is the extent of my responsibility.
My manager was amazed at my tale when I, finally, hours later returned to the office. Unfortunately the hostname is not showing up on our monitoring kit, I really don't want to go back. I may end up sorting out their plumbing or chopping their trees down for the extension.
Sunday, 15 April 2012
Friday, 13 April 2012
Thursday, 12 April 2012
As all the kids headed towards the game zone to play Star Wars Kinect and Battlefield 3, I got to talk to they guys at Samsung about the Galaxy SIII (as my HTC is constantly playing up) and my other half got to try out the Samsung Galaxy Note. I would love to have seen her use it as a phone as she is tiny :)
Then we headed to LG where I was super impressed by their 3D screens and even more so by the Dual-Play screens. Where two players can play against each other on the same TV, full-screen, providing you are wearing the dual-play glasses (3D glasses with either only left lenses or only right lenses).
The even had an F1 car to add to the realism:
There was a lot of 3D tech on display this year but for me not all of it was good. After the Mrs had loved the 3D sport and nature programs at LG, saying it was the first time she had really seen the merits of 3D, the powered 3D glasses at Sony gave us both headache and were as uncomfortable as I find it when I have been to a 3D movie at the cinema. Certainly not something I would like to do every day at home.
The live show in the 'Super theatre' was pretty good. All the presenters were there and, despite the early hour, all were on top form engaging with the audience. To start with though we were wondering whether kids should have been allowed in as it started like a show at a strip club and the thrusting dance moves competition a little later on didn't help.
Jason Bradbury seems to be a crowd favourite, and with his charm and infectious enthusiasm you can see why.
The show involved audience competitions, a giant crowd Wii-like long jump game (which our team won), remote controlled helicopters, robots and more. After the show we went around the rest of the NEC checking out what was on offer. The only drawback was the prices they don't tell you about until you are there (£8 for parking, £17 for two, rather disappointing cups of jacket potatoes and watery coffee). At least I managed to get an inflatable Android robot from Kenwood (which my son loves):
Wednesday, 4 April 2012
If you don't know anybody who might want to sign up... well... I am sure you can think of a way around that.
Tuesday, 3 April 2012
Thursday, 29 March 2012
Wednesday, 14 March 2012
Monday, 5 March 2012
“Piracy comes from, you know, people, let’s say, in Europe who do not have access to movies at the same time that they are released in the US. This is a problem that has been born within this licensing model and the old business model that Hollywood has where they release something first in one country but they show trailers to everyone around the world pitching that new movie but then the 14-year-old kid in France or Germany can’t watch it for another six months, you know? If the business model would be one where everyone has access to this content at the same time, you know, you wouldn’t have a piracy problem. So it’s really, in my opinion, the government of the United States protecting an outdated monopolistic business model that doesn’t work anymore in the age of the internet and that’s what it all boils down to. I’m no piracy king, I offered online storage and bandwidth to users and that’s it.”