Bandwidth increase for Petersen’s Butte Fixed Wireless

Great news for customers currently being served from the Petersen’s Butte Fixed Wireless tower.  We upgraded the backhaul wireless radio to a new, more robust technology which provides added fault tolerance and greater bandwidth capacity.  Everybody currently subscribing to services from that tower will benefit with this upgrade.  The bandwidth increased from 8 Mbps

PEAK Wireless Engineers increased Petersons Butte bandwidth capacity by more than five times

PEAK Wireless Engineers increased Petersens Butte bandwidth capacity by more than five times

download by 6 Mbps upload on average to 60 Mbps by 40 Mbps on average.  You should notice a different when using accessing video or web pages at “peak” usage times, when traffic is most congested.

Over the past few months, we began noticing bandwidth increasingly becoming pegged with traffic during high usage times.  With this new upgrade customer’s latency will have decreased during those “peak” times of traffic flow.  In doing so we had to change our backhaul configuration which not only improved Petersons West backhaul, but also improved the backhaul for Petersons Lebanon tower.  This comes as a result of both towers being shared by a Point to Multi Point backhaul (PTMP).   Petersons Butte Lebanon tower is now on a Point to Point (PTP) backhaul between the two towers and Petersons West tower is on a PTP backhaul link to our Lebanon office.

Our next backhaul upgrade will be Knox Butte – covering the Albany and surround areas – using the same technology and radio equipment as we did on Petersons West tower.  We are planning the upgrade in the coming months.

As always thank you for your understanding and your patronage as we work to improve our network and your internet experience.

New features and functionality announced for your Clear Access modem

clearaccessAbout a year ago PEAK made the decision to make modems from Clear Access its primary customer premised equipment (CPE) for DSL customers.  This decision was made because Clear Access provided a higher quality device that offered the promise of added value through expanded services for customers.  Over the past year some of these features were released, providing simplification to the increasingly complex home network.  Over the next month, we would like to showcase some of the impressive functionality Clear Access is building into its devices that will soon be available to you.

Face it – you’re no network administrator.  Even if you were, the last thing you want to do when you get home is troubleshoot your daughter’s Internet connection or figure out why your latency is affecting your gaming on Xbox Live.  The complexity of today’s home networking is rapidly increasing; and with the introduction of so many Internet-enabled devices around the home it’s only getting worse.

The Clear Access modems, offered by PEAK Internet, offer a complete home networking solution so you can relax and enjoy the technology coming into your household.  Through a “connected home” concept, the new modem has the ability to provide Managed Wi-Fi, Parental Internet Controls, Home Monitoring, and Home Network Optimizing.  In addition to these offerings, Clear Access will soon provide integrated services with other organizations to bring home Power Monitoring through Smart Grid technologies, Online Backup from Carbonite, Online Device Management (printers, etc.), and control over other bandwidth enabled services.

This is a lot of information and too many promises to deliver on in just one article, so the one takeaway is to stay tuned for more information coming out about the next generation of releases.  If you haven’t already tried them yet, several of the new services are already available.

clear-manage-Wi-FiManaged Wi-Fi:

New modems from Clear Access offer a Managed Wi-Fi service that can be enabled at your request.  This lets a trusted PEAK support agent create a secure wireless broadcast with a password so unknown users aren’t accessing your network.

clear-time-blockTime Blocking:

The Time Blocking feature allows you to set limits on your devices that access an Internet connection.  If you are interested in implementing limits on computers, gaming consoles, or other devices, this feature will do the trick.

clear-time-blockParental Controls:

Content filtering allows you to set which websites and general content are allowed to be viewed on your connection.  If you need a layer of control on your connection, this is a good place to start.

Of all the features mentioned, I am most excited about the Home Control Panel for devices and integration with Application Partners.  I don’t have descriptive details yet, but from what I have seen it will provide an enriched Internet experience.

In brief, the Home Control Panel gives you an easy listing of all the devices accessing your network and all the services you are using (time blocking, parental controls, Wi-Fi).  You are then able to take actions based on your services.

The Application Partners feature allows you to have access to a network of different services all in a portal format.  This interface will give you one screen to manage all the different home computing services you utilize.  Services like Online Backup, Home Security Monitoring, and others are planned as part of this offering.

Thanks for tuning in.  We’ll be using and reviewing these services in-depth and reporting back via PEAK Chat, so check back for additional information. If you would like to see a sample of these services, come into the PEAK office and try it out.

New Spam Filtering System

Ready for a spam blocking upgrade?  I’m happy to announce that PEAK will soon be upgrading to the Red Condor Spam Filtering service starting in February.  Red Condor offers a set of different features and a sleek new interface that should make navigating your spam console easier.

Red Condor is a next generation email security system that eliminates unwanted email without the need to continuously monitor and adjust spam filters. With no intervention from you, your spam problem simply disappears.

Red Condor is a next generation email security system that eliminates unwanted email without the need to continuously monitor and adjust spam filters. With no intervention from you, your spam problem simply disappears.

Red Condor also offers better filtering abilities than the current Barracuda system and will provide capacity for the ever-increasing proliferation of spam.  This investment in upgraded services is the latest effort from PEAK to provide premium email service to customers, so accordingly look for this effort to continue (remember: new email system coming soon).

The battle against unsolicited and malicious email (spam) is a constant and ongoing part of providing email service to customers.  This is a tough fight, with over a million messages delivered each day to PEAK domains. Around 90% of those messages are spam (you may notice them being blocked by the Barracuda Spam Filter). This figure drives the PEAK engineering team to stay vigilant, constantly monitoring the email platform and making upgrades as necessary. This is a timely upgrade and I’m certain you will all enjoy the improvements that Red Condor offers.

The Red Condor system provides a familiar interface to most email clients, the difference being that Red Condor contains messages caught by the filter and not delivered to your PEAK mailbox.  To view blocked messages, delete, or release messages you simply need to log in to your Personal Dashboard with your PEAK credentials.  From there you may navigate and configure your settings.

Here are some resources provided by Red Condor that will help you learn the new system (note: these links will navigate you away from PEAK’s blog site).

Flash Video:

Personal Dashboard – (3 minutes, 5 seconds) (recommended for Broadband users)

Spam Digest – (1 minute, 8 seconds) (recommended for Broadband users)

Manuals:

Personal Dashboard User Guide (online) (recommended for Dial-Up users)
Personal Dashboard User Guide (pdf)
Personal Dashboard FAQ (online) (recommended for Dial-Up users)
Personal Dashboard FAQ (pdf)

Remember the transition to Red Condor will begin in February. You will notice a different set of “Spam Digest” emails from Red Condor when your email account has been migrated.

M. Laport

Advanced Security Settings for PEAK Email

*The username must have “@actionnet.net” as part of the username. If you want to connect to the mail server in a more secure manner, using TLS or SSL, then use zmail01.peak.org for IMAP, POP, and SMTP servers so that the security certificate will be properly identified by the mail server.

It is recommended (if you are using a wireless connection, we *strongly* recommend) that you change your settings to:

POP/IMAP (‘incoming’) server: zmail01.peak.org – port 995 (POP3S)/993 (IMAPS  *SSL required

SMTP (‘outgoing’) server: zmail01.peak.org –  port 587, *TLS required

(some older Outlook versions may require port 465, SSL required instead, but 587 is preferred if possible)

The servername is required to be zmail01.peak.org in order for your mail program to properly verify that it is connected to the right mail server and not an imposter

June 1, 2009 – Network Update

In May the Engineering team was able to accomplish several steps towards the goal of an upgraded

core network infrastructure at PEAK. These activities will continue in June as preparations are being made for new equipment to be installed in the coming months.

Below is an outline of the sub-projects within this whole process of upgrading our network this year.  I’ll be updating the blog occasionally so you can stay up to date on our progress.

Pioneer Gigabit Ethernet Circuit

The first actual upgrade will occur in July and will affect the Pioneer Telephone Internet customers.  Currently, we use OC3 (about 130 Mbps) ATM circuits to transfer bandwidth between PEAK and Pioneer.  As we planned for further bandwidth needs, it was important that we consider the ongoing exponential growth that is occurring in bandwidth usage.  So, instead of adding additional OC3 circuits it was decided that we would use a Gigabit (GigE), or 1000 Mbps, circuit between the two networks. This should allow a good amount of growth potential and add capacity for extreme peak usage times.  The use of the Gigabit circuit will require different equipment than what we currently have in place and explains the need for an upgrade.

New Internet Border Router in Corvallis

The PEAK Internet routing infrastructure has equipment in our building in Corvallis and in Portland where our upstream providers reside.  In Corvallis, our current core equipment is connected to a Northern route in Portland and to our Southern route through Eugene.  We will be upgrading this core equipment with two exact devices to add redundancy to the setup.  In Portland, where the routing is less complex, we will be using one redundant device to aggregate our Northern and Southern routes.  Both all of these devices are significant upgrades and will add to the already outstanding service level that PEAK is able to provide.

New Internet Border Router: Portland

The infrastructure in Portland routes traffic of our Top-Tier upstream providers down to our Corvallis office.  This device functions a border router and will be getting an upgrade in July along with the other network segment.

New Core Routers – Occurring Now

Over the past month, we have been busy implementing new dual routers to our network core in Corvallis.  These two devices site at the center of the PEAK infrastructure and are responsible for routing Internet packets to their destinations.  They are setup in a redundant configuration to prevent outages.  So, if one fails the other can affectively do the work of the other.  This upgrade is being made in conjunction with the border router upgrade being made in July and upon completion will yield a redundant and fault tolerant network to keep your service running.

As High-Speed Internet usage becomes more pervasive and web sites like YouTube or Hulu become household names, the requirements of Internet provider networks increases exponentially.  At PEAK our experience is no different, where we have noticed significant growth in bandwidth consumption over the past two years.  This round of network upgrades and investments is being made to ensure our network will be to provide reliability and speed for our customers as the Internet continues to grow and expand.

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