Wednesday, 23 May 2018

SKD Tower comes falling down!

On 6th May 2018 Sunday our client Last Mile Heath complained that the Internet service was not working. My Boss Mr. Haresh called me and informed me about this incident.

We have Access Points at strategic locations all over the city that we normally get a clear line of sight and connect our numerous clients.

One of our AP’s is located on a tower at SKD complex. This client was connected to this AP. There was heavy rain the night before and the whole tower came crashing down around 05:00 p.m. when a big gust of wind came in. 

Internet service to all clients connected to this AP was affected.

The tower is still being rebuilt, as we write this blog, but we had to find an alternate solution to connect our client(s). 

I called our technicians and asked them to be available as early as possible on Monday morning so that we could go to LMH and reposition the AP’s direction to another AP located at Old Road.

Here are some pictures of the fallen giant tower at SKD:

We arrived at the LMH office much before 8 AM on Monday morning to begin our work. Below is a picture of the Internet dish antenna pointed to SKD tower side.

We shifted the direction to old road AP.

We changed IP and SSID. Using MikroTik Interface via Winbox software.

The signal strength from Old Road tower is very good and the internet connection to our client is stable.


Farman Elahi,  IT Technician

Monday, 21 May 2018

Something never seizes to amaze me when it comes to IT, especially networking........

Hello everyone,

It’s been a while now and nice getting back to you guys. Something never seizes to amaze me when it comes to IT, especially networking. One of our clients, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has relocated from its UN Drive, Mamba Point office to the Pan African Plaza building, formal United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) Headquarters in Sinkor, Tubman Boulevard. Our task was to create a new Local Area Network (LAN) and terminate all ends in a mounted rack in the server room, transfer and setup all IT equipment including security cameras to function.

The client already had an initial internet service provider therefore, connecting all devices back to same network would have a plug and play setup. Instead, they decided to get connected to another UN agency. Out of 15 LAN ports the new provider offered to connect 6 users which include a network printer and a file sharing server. I entered the server room of their provider and saw a lots of huge Cisco devices; I mean latest Core routers, switches HP & DELL blade servers all mounted in a freezing environment. This was so amazing, getting a glance at them. I have always wished to work in an environment and on live devices as well and that’s going to be soon. The customer provided us with a 24 - port Net-Gear switch which was being used at their old office to connect to their provider, the UN agency, but they condemned the equipment that it was far way below the UN standards. They preferred a Cisco Meraki MS 225-24P HW (PoE Managed Switch) which cannot be found locally and would take up to a week to be delivered if ordered. We left with the option of connecting to the 6 available ports given.

All four users were connected to a real-time high speed internet connection via a Cisco Meraki MS 225-24P HW switch except for the network printer and the file sharing server. To connect the printer and server, I had to get a static IP from the IT officers. All the printers are on a different Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN) therefore an IP must be given from the VLAN range. It took us nearly a week from one floor to another in getting the information from these guys until finally that morning they were able to generate two static IPs addresses for our client, JICA. I started by configuring the addresses into the printer. After several re boots, the printer could not be accessible on the network. Than I compared the subnet mask given to me by the IT officer with that of the one I gathered via windows command interface, I noticed the guy had made a mistake by giving me a slash /24 small network eg ( network instead of slash /27 eg medium and large networks. Rectifying this issue had the printer hooked up to the network as well as the mini server. As of now, our client has upgraded to a more big and high-speed internet. I am glad to have a hand on these equipment as I am also preparing for my Official CISCO Certifications Exams (CCNA) coming up soon!

Daniel Collins

Friday, 16 March 2018

CCTV Cameras Synology Setup

From behind the IT desk of the Population Services International Liberia (PSI), I can piece together some troubleshooting and resolution of their CCTV cameras being disconnect/shutdown.

We got an approval to install 8 D-Link CCTV cameras to strategy areas in the premises of PSI office, connecting through a battery bank for power/electrical backup. After a week of smooth access to the cameras both in and outside the network, the client started to notice a slow connectivity to their network even to the extent they couldn’t access the camera’s server (Synology NAS) remotely.

I got back from Buchanan on an ICT maintenance trip to one of our clients site only to check my mail with lots of email exchanges about the situation with my boss: the Head of Operations.

As I learned the CCTV technicians who set up these cameras didn’t understand the network layout of the client and also didn’t follow instructions from the ISP in my absence. They assigned any IP of their choice to the cameras as they could in other to complete their job. This was very embarrassing getting back to them as there was no answer on their phones. My boss then instructed me to accompany another tech who was recommended by a friend to assist us. We arrived at the client site and explained to him about the situation of the cameras switching OFF and ON.

The tech admitted to me that he had no idea about D-Links cameras and Synology NAS server; on HKVISION and told me that he would be back the next morning to figure out the problem.  We scheduled the time for 10:00 AM prompt. I was on site before the time by the tech didn’t show up. I was left alone to solve this issue. I downloaded the D-Link DS cam and Synology catalogues. I first took out all of the cameras down and reset them to factory default and assigned a static IP addresses that are not in used and all fall behind the DHCP rang to avoid disruption of access as it used to be. The DHCP range of the core router was from that means any number below 30 can be assign to a device. So I assigned to the Synology NAS server and the rest of the eight cameras were from 20-27. 

The port forwarding was configured both on the router and the NAS server for remote viewing with secure password protection enabled and shared with the client. After doing all this, I called the ISP to bypass the hotspot on the network from accessing internet which is one of the aspects in the MikroTik which I love. I really like working on these devices especially when it comes to networking. This was my very first time handling camera issue but because networking access was attached to it, I got a few clues and interested in understanding how it works. To be frank, the installation/setup was quite simple and easy; just the matter of understanding how the IP blocks were arranged before assigning them manually to those devices. At least I can say the cameras are now accessible with a 24hr battery backup system running to keep them on throughout the night. I was glad to be a part of this project and looking forward to more prospect development in the fresh start of 2018.

Prepared by:
Daniel Collins

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

NATC Office Photoshoot 2018

This year I (Farzana Rasheed) decided to do the company photoshoot myself! See some of the photographs of our staff and beautiful office.  

Rest of the photographs can be seen here