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Interesting network story


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#1 tim_s

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 19:05

Hi Everyone,

Had an interesting network story that I thought I would share - just for fun since the issue has been resolved.

At our shipping office we have a 3 floor building design,

Bottom: Warehouse (Contains 1 Wireless Access point for scanning hardware)
Middle: Offices (Contains 2 Wireless Access points - General Office and Meeting Room)
Top: Shipping Customer Services Team (Contains 1 Wireless Access point)

The segregation is both imposed on us by security regulatory bodies and our own internal practices. Another piece of information that is important, during the original concept of the office networks – the offices was designed to have shielding to segregate the wireless networks to prevent interference and restrict the network uses. - This never happened and thus the wireless networks are visible through the network.

On Thursday around 4:30 PM, I was cc'd on an email to the email department that the email server is not working and this was based on the return notice mentioning that it failed to find the server. A team was dispatched to diagnose the issue. This was isolated to the one office - we have global offices not encountering any issues.

On Friday a select group of people lost the internet completely, cell phones, laptops etc. Only the desktops functioned. A separate team was dispatched to investigate this issue as it was common to many people. What was odd is that the same people on the same floor using the same hardware had different experiences and this was throughout the building.

What was odd, everyone had one item in common. Everyone using Ethernet was functional but everyone using wireless failed to find the internet. The symptoms for everyone was the same – they can connect to the wireless networks but nobody could reach the internet. I was requested to the location to guide the team in person due to the productivity loss.

I noticed immediately that my Laptop (Macbook Pro) failed and so did my cell phone, I could connect but the internet was never found. 4 different networks died in 1 day – not possible statistically without other factors involved. Different isolated power boxes, I brought a wireless access point with me and immediately showed the same symptoms.

We began debugging the equipment, Wireless access points confirmed access to the internet – when patched in directly – you could achieve the internet. Vendors could not find the problem and my reluctance to start re-arranging the networks without a reason for failure was just going to get messy.

4 hours passed and I had a team I was paying plus vendors and so I put in a request for new hardware from a separate vendor to be placed within the building. We literally just changed the Wireless access points and the network became functional.

We ran diagnosing software to map out channels, signal strength, local networks and everything was spot on (Slight overlapping within 2 access points as we still must support 2.4GHz products and have 4 networks but this has always been the case.)

Just found it interesting and nobody can figure out why – my guess is that one of the devices became faulty and was adding to the noise levels interfering with the connectivity but even then – How would they have connected to the access point?


#2 remixedcat

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 19:52

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#3 *RedBull*

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 20:28

um...ok

#4 chungleyon

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 18:49

Nice one! :huh:

#5 Crisp

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 13:07

Pandora's box!!

#6 Buttus

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 13:17

i have to go with Remixedcat on this one...

#7 +BudMan

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 14:15

How is this an interesting story?

What does "I could connect but the internet was never found" mean?

Like telling a story between mechanics

yeah so this car didn't work, so we changed the engine - and it started working ;)

When you say wireless clients "can connect to the wireless networks" I assume you mean they were associated to the accesspoint in their area. So did they get an IP from your dhcp server, or are they static assigned? Could they not ping the gateway? Could they not do DNS? You say they could not "find" the internet - but what about local devices, could they connect to them, could they resolve them by name? Was your gateway not seeing any traffic from any wireless clients -- connected to different AP. You mention segregation, so these different floors AP are on different network segments/vlans? So the router they connect to for the 3 segments?? Not seeing the packets from any wireless device on any segment?

How about some actual something to get us interested in the characters in the story, or the details of the problem at hand, or how it was actually troubleshooted, etc.

What we have here is is a lack of basic troubleshooting info. Nothing to find the root cause of the issue with. So we replaced the hardware without a clue to what was wrong and then it worked. ;) Lets see wireless doesn't work - so lets change out all the AP.. That's like taking your computer to tech, and him saying yeah don't know why that happens - here buy this new computer.

No offense or anything - but don't see how this is interesting at all other than making yourself look unqualified on how to troubleshoot basic networking issues.