Sprint 3G Mifi @ SFO Aug 18

So here’s how the Sprint 3G service  measures now that I’m away from my home office location. Note that my laptop clock is on CDT. It’s just before 6am west coast time.


As you can see I tried tests against several servers in different locations. The test to the server in Chicago was markedly better than the others, with a ping time under 100 ms.

Village Telco Imagines A Phone Mesh

Open source software is a really wonderful idea. And if you like that then open source hardware should prove to be attractive as well. The folks at the Village Telco Project in South Africa have recently posted an interesting bit about assembling a mesh network for telephony, based upon David Rowe’s Mesh Potatoe hardware.

This is very interesting stuff. I get a big kick out of anything that goes into concerns where the commercial telcos just can’t be bothered. As a topic area, that’s actually a surprisingly large amount of ground, despite their beloved USF slush fund.

Power-Over-Ethernet Mythbusting

The .e4 blog has a good new post on power-over-ethernet, which I see as an often overlooked area of SOHO VoIP. It goes into some detail P.O.E. network switches, power management and mid-span P.O.E injectors.

aastra-poe-injecter-350__1_pw183jpgJust last week we suffered a power outage that took down my entire office for about two hours. That is, it took down everything that wasn’t on the UPS. At the time I was on a tech support call with a customer. Happily, my IP650 and all the core network components get UPS power, some via P.O.E.. The UPS power only lasted about 45 minutes, but that was enough to let me resolve my tech support situation.

While some of our larger offices have P.O.E. capable network switches I use a couple of simple single-port mid-span power injectors from Aastra. Why? They’re simply a better, and more cost effective solution for my small office. I only need to power a couple of devices over the ethernet, just my Polycom desk phones. However, I need gigabit ethernet bandwidth in a number of places. POE capable gigabit switches were on the expensive side when last I reworked the office network. In contrast, single port power injectors can be had for around $40 each.

The Day The Electrons Stood Still

It started out an uneventful day, the third day in an entire week that I expected to spend in my home office. That’s something of a rarity in recent times. I was enjoying it, catching up on matters around here, and addressing tech support calls as they arose. I was on just such a call when, to my considerable surprise, the power went out.

The sudden loss of power is not enough to disrupt my phone call beyond my own expression of surprise. As I’ve documented elsewhere, I’ve taken steps to ensure that critical infrastructure around here is on a UPS. To paraphrase Frank Herbert, “The electrons must flow.” In fact, it occurred to me that this afternoon was an opportune time to ascertain just how sound my planning had been.

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All Your Files Are Belong to Me! – HAL9000

From my Facebook page comes this comment from Gary Mark about our new NAS.

Okay, so why do you need this Mike? Can’t you RAID a couple big disks into your desktop and run it like a server? You’d save another 500 bucks doing this.

In fact for the past couple of years I’ve had a mini-tower PC living in a closet acting as a file server. It wasn’t really a server as it was a pretty limited little box. It had an AMD 1800+ CPU, 512 MB memory and four 300 GB IDE drives on a Promise RAID controller. In RAID 5 it gave me around 860 GB of storage. It actually started out with four 120 GB drives long ago and had been upgraded once already.

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