Network Troubleshooting Sucks
Why no links posted yesterday? I was dealing with troubleshooting Internet connectivity for a local real estate company (and we all know realtors, no matter the company, panic when things don't work exactly right or how they're used to), so it tied up most of my day yesterday. And what made it even more difficult was the car mechanic problem: You know how when you take your car to a mechanic and it suddenly stops making the noise you were bringing it in there for? They've been complaining about this 'net connection for several days, but every time I've been there, everything's been working fine. And since I was getting vague "The internet is broken"-types of notes stuck to my desk on my days off, it was like looking for a needle in a haystack.
After several days of troubleshooting and testing I was finally able to recreate the errors they were getting (after basically making an agent in the office my MLS guinea pig and having her run a bunch of tests for me) in a controlled environment (meaning my laptop versus their laptops or desktops systems that typically have 500 icons on the desktop and about a dozen toolbars installed in the browser). I came to found out that there were random packets that were getting dropped between the expensive Sonicwall firewall and the Cisco 2300 T1 router, as I could connect directly to the T1 router and not have the issues I was getting. Taking down their Internet connection for about five minutes sure bugged everybody -- boy, what would the world be like without being wired up all the time!?!?</sarcasm> -- but that was the only way I could test it was to give all the bandwidth to me temporarily.
To prove my theory, I went in to town and bought just a cheap Linksys router/firewall that would route everything, configured it, plugged it into place, and suddenly things started working again.
At least that's what I've been told -- I haven't heard any complaints today. The router has a basic firewall on it, which is basically all their were using the other firewall for, so it'll work until I can price out a cheap Smoothwall box to build for them (as I've had great luck with my Smoothwall boxes, having installed four of them).
More links coming today as soon as I get caught up from ignoring the world and hiding in a network closet yesterday.