2008/05/29-31 - Change In Internet Service Provider, Part 2
On Thursday May 29, Rhodes will again be changing the way its Internet access is provisioned. The change will take place from 18:30 in the evening. We anticipate that it should take no more than one hour to complete.

During the change over, no Internet access will be available whatsoever. Users browsing the web will see an error message, and e-mail sent during the outage will be queued for later delivery. Local (on-campus) connectivity should be unaffected.
This change is a follow on from the change that occurred on April 15. In this change, Rhodes will migrate from Telkom's commercial TI-DIS service onto the GEN3 research and education network. GEN3 is the successor to the previous GEN2 contract, and represents a fundamental shift in the way higher education buys Internet access in South Africa; in essence it is the preparatory work required for the South African National Research Network (SANReN). The major difference is that in GEN2 we bought layer 3 (full IP routing) Internet access from a single service provider; in GEN3 we, through TENET, buy a range of different services from a consortium of providers (including Neotel and The Internet Solution) and use these services to build a complete network. This is a technically exciting change, but it is something that will go largely unnoticed by the vast majority of end users at Rhodes. Much of the history of the change is explained in the previous post.

It is important that we clarify some mis-perceptions at this point: Unfortunately, GEN3 will not give us a particularly big increase in Internet bandwidth. Whilst we might see small improvements, this change is not intended to address the ongoing over-subscription of our Internet bandwidth. The intention is that this problem will largely be addressed by a future (and as yet undetermined) connection to SANReN, and by the University's investment in a portion of the SEACOM submarine fibre optic cable that's set to come online in the second half of next year.

As a result, it is unlikely that there will be significant changes in the current Internet quotas as a result of the migration to GEN3.
It seems that everything is on track for the migration to GEN3. You are reminded that there will be an hour or two's disruption in Internet access from 6.30PM this evening (Thursday 29 May).
We've just had a phone call from TENET's service manager. It seems that one of the preliminary checks failed, and as a result Neotel have asked to defer this change by 24 hours. This migration will now take place at 6.30PM tomorrow (Friday 30 May).
At about 7PM this evening, after several unsuccessful attempts, Neotel once again aborted the migration. We're still getting Internet access fromthe TI-DIS network.

The migration has now been postponed to 8.30AM tomorrow (Saturday 31 May) morning. Users should expect there to be no Internet access from 8.30AM, and expect the outage to last between one and two hours.
We've now migrated onto the GEN3 network. At the moment, most things appear to be working correctly.

It may take a while for international routing to stabilise completely. Whilst we can get to all our test sites, it is possible that some smaller networks have not yet picked up the new announcement. Please wait for a few hours before reporting any problems connecting to these sites.

There's currently a problem with routing to the University of Fort Hare's Bisho campus which will cause some problems for the library there (they won't be able to access the SEALS server at Rhodes). TENET & Neotel are looking into this. We'll liaise with the library directly about this.