Traffic jams of bits and bytes.....


At KITS IT we like the all encompassing approach. It's never about selling, it's all about helping. Of course by helping we do sell services and products but selling isn't the primary motive, helping is.

One of our business customers who runs a pharmacy, we'll call this lady Joan (not her real name) had serious problems at home. STOP !! Rewind, we're not talking relationship counselling - we're an IT company. Serious problems in the form of children giving poor Joan a hard time about the state of the broadband. By broadband it wasn't broadband at all, it was a WiMax connection but broadband has become synonymous with internet connectivity to the home.

We first started getting involved the week leading up to Christmas (2016), initial investigations led to (at the time) the fact that the house was too big for the WiFi infrastructure installed. Now, by installed we're talking of a residential router with built in WiFi connected to another "residential" access point over a couple of powerline adapters (now you can't beat a length of good old fashioned Cat5 / Cat6 cabling but powerline adapters are easy to install, reliability,,,well.....)

With re-siting the powerline adapter and lending a Ubiquiti access point to Joan over the Christmas period we were able to get full coverage to the top two floors of the house.

Christmas period over we revisited to do a proper survey. The remit was to cover the entire house and to provide coverage to the side garden where Joan had her home office (a log cabin style garden office). The survey showed that we needed two access points to cover the house and an externally mounted access point to encompass the area occupied by the outside cabin - note - being of wood and glass construction penetration of WiFi signals into the office was not a problem.

Now, being a properly installed WiFi solution the cost was never going to be minimal, after all minimal costed WiFi solutions 1) don't cover large houses and 2) are not reliable. So, understandably Joan wanted everything just right before ordering. Everything was not right.

The WiMax provider installed the system with all the finesse of a satellite TV installer and the reliability was not there, not even close. The issue was essentially that there was a bit of a traffic jam going on. The WiMax provider simply did not have enough capacity. During busy hours the reliability nosedived and during the night it was fine.


The image above shows a pingplotter trace - the red spikes are where the data from Joan's house has simply been lost.

After some discussions with the WiMax provider and some patience getting past the receptionist reading scripted "reboot router, restart PC, blah, blah, blah" we managed to get the attention of one of their network engineers who did not put up any resistance - he knew we were well aware of what was going on in his network. Sure enough around 4pm the next day came the "try again now"......


Now apart from what looks like some kind of infrastructure reboot at 4am and when one of Joan's children unplugged the router to charge a mobile it certainly looks an awful lot better. It's not perfect but then unless you spend big bucks on a leased line it is rare to get a perfect internet connection. It's now obvious that the connection from Joan's house isn't sharing the link to the internet with quite so many other households.

Now Joan has peace, she can wander her abode and not drop a WiFi connection and not drop an internet connection either ! The kids are now quiet, which is the best result of all :)


11 views