A collection of rambling posts about gaming, running, and politics. (and, in 2009, photography.)

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Wireless Bridge

Here's another work-related one for ya.

A few months ago the put a small free-standing building up on the property here that was to serve as the Shipping Office. We of course call it the "Shippin' Shack". So the Shippin' Shack of course is going to have a couple of telephones and PCs in there, but aside from electricity, it has no wiring going into it, and there's not really anything close-by to pull wiring from. So we decided on a wireless network solution. Two IP phones, two machines, a switch, a wireless access point and a wireless bridge. Simple enough. The access point will sit where there is wiring and network, and have an antenna attached to it. It will beam that wireless signal across the yard to the Shippin' Shack, where there'll be another antenna with a wireless bridge attached. Attached to that bridge will be a switch which will carry the network connection to the PCs and IP phones. Simple enough. So we get all that in place, get the configuration of the AP and bridge setup and WOOT they're all connected. It's IT magic.

Then it quit working. Of course. It was up for a couple of days, then it went down. Well, that's annoying, but no big deal. I fiddle with it, reboot the AP. Still nothing, I go into the config interface for the AP and see that the radio is turned off. Which doesnt make any sense. The radio would have been on earlier. The radio would not (should not?) have turned itself off. I turn it on, the connection comes back up, and I go back to my office.

Then it quit working. I mean, it'd work for a few days, then just quit. Like right in the middle of the day. So I'd go look at it, reset the AP, turn the radio back on (cause it was off again) and it'd start working. Again and again and again. Never any discernable pattern. Usually once every week or week and a half, but sometimes twice in an hour. Seemingly always during the work day, but never on any certain day or at any certain time. Frustrated, I reconfigured both from scratch. Same problem. I replaced the AP with another identical AP. Same problem. They're both from the same manufacturer. We're not talking about square pegs in round holes here. Again and again and again.

Then they installed another piece of equipment that used a network connection beside the shippin' shack. Worried, but still planning on trying to find a solution, we got it setup to be on the switch connected to the bridge in the shippin' shack. Then we waited. And waited. And waited. The connection didnt drop. Its been... three months now? And not once has the connection gone down. So apparently if you have an intermittent connectivity problem that no amount of troubleshooting will solve and you're at the point where beating your head against your desk seems like a logical next step, just try putting more devices on the network. It just might fix it.

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