2005/04/18 - Scheduled Internet Outage
TENET, the University's upstream Internet service provider, have just informed us that Telkom will be undertaking scheduled maintenance work on their behalf on the ATM circuits that provide Rhodes with Internet access. This work will take place on Monday the 11th of April starting at 15:00. It is expected that they'll complete the job by 17:00 of the same day.

During this time it is expected that Rhodes will have no Internet access whatsoever. This means that you won't be able to browse external web sites, use instant messenger programs, download files or do anything else that requires Internet access. Any e-mail you send during the outage will be queued by our mail servers and delivered once connectivity is restored. In the same way, incoming e-mail will be queued by remote mail servers.

You are strongly encouraged to plan around this scheduled outage.

For those of you who are interested in what's actually going on, this outage is to allow Telkom to reconfigure the University's access routers. TENET, on behalf of their customers, have recently renegotiated their Internet access provision agreements with Telkom in order to change the model by which universities receive and pay for Internet access. As a result we're changing from what was known as the HEIST model to what is known as the GEN2 model.

This new model has significant benefits to both parties. From Telkom's perspective, it should enable them to centralise the configuration of bandwidth limits (rather than having to configure individual PVCs on individual routers at specific institutions) making their change management somewhat simpler. From our perspective it means that we effectively get more bandwidth, in particular between other universities and ourselves. The model is also conceptually simpler as it does away with the concept of committed informatuion rate.

You'll find more information on what the migration entails on TENET's web site

Interesting enough, you'll notice that Rhodes has been selected as the first site to undergo the change to the new model and, as such, we're the most likely to encounter any teething problems. We're hoping this won't be the case :-)
Unfortunately it appears that Telkom are not quite ready to undertake this upgrade and, as a result have indicated that they wish to delay things by a week or so. We don't have a confirmed date and time yet, but is seems likely that this will happen on Monday the 18th of April rather than Monday the 11th.
Telkom, through TENET, have confirmed that this outage will now take place on Monday the 18th of April from 15:00 onwards. They anticipate that they'll have finished by 17:00, but as Rhodes is the first site that Telkom are migrating to the new GEN2 model, users would be wise to allow a couple of hours leeway in case of unexpected complications.

As inidicated in the previous post, users will have no Internet access whatsoever whilst Telkom makes their changes.
Telkom's first attempt to transfer Rhodes to the new GEN2 network has failed, so they have reconnected us to the old HEIST network instead. We are waiting for them to identify what went wrong and reschedule the installation.

There will be another interruption, probably during the course of this week, possibly as early as tomorrow afternoon. We will post any updates as and when they are available.