VOIP and Telephone service

Lately, I have had folks asking about telephone service and who I recommend.  Many questions stem from people working from home and cell phones have weak signals or battery life is an issue after a day of calls.

We have relationships with two different companies
Atheral
https://atheral.co/

TrueIp Solutions
https://www.trueipsolutions.com/

if you need voice or unified communications check both of these out.  Tell them Justin sent you.

J2 Podcast: telephone robocalls, Comcast network

Telephone news
https://www.engadget.com/2020-03-31-fcc-stir-shaken-june-30-2021.html
The FCC announced today all carriers and phone companies must adopt the STIR/SHAKEN protocol by June 30th, 2021. The regulatory requirement is designed to combat robocalls, specifically those that try to hide their phone numbers by allowing carriers to authenticate caller IDs.

Fcc is expected to outline it’s vision for the 6GHZ unlicensed spectrum
The FCC for months has been considering exactly how to release fully 1,200MHz of spectrum in the 6GHz band for commercial use. <most likely will be for WI-FI>

Comcast talks about network usage
https://venturebeat.com/2020/03/30/comcast-details-what-the-coronavirus-has-done-to-network-traffic/?

Nexstream installers getting it done

Rick and Luis are geared up for safety using face masks, gloves, shoe protection, and plenty of sanitizer as we continue Internet installations throughout the Hill Country.
We ask customers to maintain a 10 foot distance from installers at all times.
Flattening the curve is a community effort. We’re in this together!
Get connected at nexstream.net

Dual monitors.sure. five monitors..can you keep track

With all of the people working from home with the Covid-19 restrictions, I see the topic of multiple monitors come up quite often on Facebook discussions. If you are not a fan of having more than one monitor you need to listen to the following video. This is an excellent video on time management. If you want to skip to the dual monitor stuff it starts at 27:15

The question is how many monitors are too much? How much information can your brain focus on at any given time?  Studies have shown we are more focused on tasks if that is the only thing in front of us.  We make fewer mistakes if we are focusing on one, maybe two tasks. Having too much information can lead to lack of focus.

From a Facebook group

 

 

Just some food for thought.

The following is my monitor setup. I used to have four monitors. A year ago I bought a 32″ high-resolution monitor to replace two of my monitors.  You see a third in this photo.  I added this about three months ago because I found myself listening to YouTube videos and other media. Having a dedicated screen for this freed up much of my moving of windows. this screen also has a Roku box and a retorpi emulator for those times I need a break but can’t step away.

I like this setup for a couple of reasons. The first is it allows me to have what I am working on front and center.  Depending on what I am working on it may be on the laptop screen or the bigger screen.  Viso and programs with toolbars typically go on the large screen. e-mail, slack, and other things go on the other screen.  Most of my network monitoring tools either get dumped into a Slack channel or e-mail.  I have turned off any ding notifications. These are interruptions.

Where would more monitors be helpful?  If I wanted to have a dedicated monitor for some sort of monitoring tools such as Librenms dashboard, The Dude, or something similar.   As my career progresses I am investing more in redundancy and focused monitoring rather than watching ever little part of the network.  I schedule review time for this stuff. More on this in a later post.

 

WISPA Webinar about the $2 trillion CARES Act

Free WISPA Webinar, Wednesday, April 1, 2020, at 2pm EDT.

There’s a lot of confusion about the $2 trillion CARES Act / COVID-19 bill and what it means to small businesses.  Listen to Jeff Carlisle, counsel for the law firm of Lerman Senter, as he unravels how it affects WISPs.

Register now here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3116068036072868110

Podcast:5.9GHZ, Azure overloaded,collaboration

Microsoft is concerned about its cloud capacity.
https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/our-commitment-to-customers-and-microsoft-cloud-services-continuity/
<Isn’t this the advantage of the cloud?. I know you have to add physical hardware, space, cooling, etc.>

FCC Opens up 5.9GHZ to rural providers
The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA), helped the companies apply for the STAs. WISPA told the FCC the companies rely primarily on unlicensed spectrum for last-mile connections to end-users, including the 5 GHz UNII bands. “Many of the WISPs’ customers have no other alternative to terrestrial broadband services,” WISPA told the agency.
https://insidetowers.com/cell-tower-news-fcc-grants-wisps-access-to-5-9-ghz-to-give-rural-networks-crisis-support/

Phone usage is up
Verizon is handling 800 million calls a day now.  This is double those seen on mothers day.
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/27/verizon-ceo-amid-covid19-cell-calls-hit-highs-only-seen-at-peak-times.html

Question for the day.
What Collaboration tools are you using?

Horvath Communications offers free tower co-lo

In an effort to alleviate the ramifications of COVID-19, Horvath Towers V will be offering free tower co-location to rural broadband service providers for a period of six months. 

“With so many families working and learning from home,” company President Jackie Horvath told Inside Towers, “the demand for wireless internet access has sky-rocketed. As such, we would like to partner with rural internet service providers to allow co-location on our tower assets on a temporary basis.”

Applications will be accepted between now and May 1. All inquiries are to be sent to ehorvath@horvathcommunications.com. As part of this program, the broadband provider will be responsible for the cost of installation and the equipment. The installation team must provide proper insurance before climbing the tower. 

https://www.horvathcommunications.com/ has a map with a site list

The problem with routing registries

Anyone who has followed me or I have done IP work for knows I am a fan of Internet Routing Registries (IRR).  However, there is a glaring issue with these registries.  I will use the example I ran into today.

A downstream client of a WISP client bought 67.158.57.0/24 off the open market about a year ago.  They finally have things in place where they are looking to announce this IP space to the world.  I helped them set up BGP to my client ISP and sent out the normal LOAs to the upstream providers.  I received this back from Hurricane Electric.

The IRR entry for this prefix does not list 14333.
https://www.radb.net/query?keywords=67.158.57.0%2F24
Please update IRR and let me know. I can add this to your prefix filter.

And a Subsequent followup message

I can add this prefix to your filter, based on the LOA. However the reason we require IRR entries for prefixes is because our peers only accept our re-announcements if there are correct IRR entries authorizing the announcement. 

Can you confirm what the source ASN will be for this announcement?
If a customer of yours is going to re-announce this to you, and that ASN is listed on:
https://www.radb.net/query?keywords=67.158.57.0%2F24
Then this will work. However if you plan to announce this sourced from your ASN 14333, this will not be picked up past our network.

This highlights one of the glaring issues with registries.  There are no checks and balances when it comes to stale data in registries. The same is true with access lists in provider routers.

What I am guessing happened is when the /20 block was carved up and sold it’s information was never removed from the routing registry.  Since this is RADb and it does not talk directly with ARIN we have some inconsistencies going on.

The following RFC illustrates many of the issues folks run into.
https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc7682
From the summary of the document

As discussed above, many of the problems that have traditionally stifled IRR deployment have, themselves, become historical. However, there are still real operational considerations that limit IRR usage from realizing its full effectiveness.

To further complicate this Hurricane Electric is referencing data in RADb, which is a paid registry.

So what are am I going to have to do? In order to make this right, I will have to reach out to RADB and have them edit the registry to start with. Since this customer, nor the ISP, are members of RADb it will take time.

Quick home VPN using Mikrotik and an existing router

I had a situation today where we had an office worker needing to work from home.  This user had a Housefull of devices and a router managed by the Fiber to the home provider. This user had devices attached to the wifi on the provider router and such.  Normally I would want to replace this router, but it would be an undertaking.

For this setup, we used a Mikrotik MAP lite.
https://www.ispsupplies.com/MikroTik-RBmAPL-2nD

My quick solution was to have the user install the Mikrotik mAP as an ethernet device off of the provider’s router.  We then established a VPN tunnel from this device to the ISP’s network they work for.

 

We then added routes in the Mikrotik to the 3 networks they needed to access across the L2tp tunnel.  This user runs the Dude and Winbox. Once the tunnel was established we had two issues to overcome.

1. You have to add a nat rule in order for traffic behind the Mikrotik to reach the devices on the other side of the tunnel.  I simply added a nat rule that looks like this:

add action=masquerade chain=srcnat out-interface=all-ppp src-address=\
192.168.88.0/24

We could have done this in a few different ways, but remember this was a quick setup.

2. I needed the laptop they were working on the be able to route the three prefixes to the Mikrotik, thus going out the VPN.  In our setup, the laptop only has 2 default gateways.  It does not know any other routing info.

I created a bash script with the following in it. In short, you add the text below into a notepad file and save it with the extension of .bat.

route ADD 10.2.0.0 MASK 255.255.0.0 192.168.88.1
route ADD 10.3.0.0 MASK 255.255.0.0 192.168.88.1
route ADD 10.4.0.0 MASK 255.255.0.0 192.168.88.1

If you need help on creating a bash script
https://www.howtogeek.com/263177/how-to-write-a-batch-script-on-windows/

Once I had the file, which I simply saved into the Dude folder on the desktop, I created a shortcut on the desktop.  You will want to right-click on the shortcut and do the following.

It is important to note you are only able to do this on a shortcut in Windows, not the actual file itself.  No idea why. The script is important because this user brings the laptop back and forth.  I did not want to create persistent routes on the computer because the office network is different.  If you do not do persistent routes they will be after a reboot.  This way the user double clicks on the script shortcut when they login to the computer and before firing up the dude.

There are many other ways to accomplish this.  This was one of the quickest and less-impacting to the user and fewer things to support. One of the downsides to this setup is the user maintains two physical connections to two physical routers.  In this instance, the user could hardwire into the Mikrotik and maintain a wireless connection to the FIOS router.

If given more time you could have the laptop wired into the Mikoritk as your desk and have the wireless on the Mikrotik become a wireless client back to the FIOS router. This would make the setup a little more mobile.

#teleworker @packetsdownrange #j2 #vpn