Project HOPE

Problems and Solutions

The HOPE Center network as a whole went pretty well except for some problematic areas with the VPN connections, hardware compatibility and software compatibility issues. Below are several of the obstacles we faced while implementing the new network and the solutions we implemented to over come those challenges.

Obstacle One

July 27th 2003

Money Money was an issue while trying to decide which vendors to choose for acquiring equipment. The budget was only two thousand dollars and the customer wanted new workstations throughout, furthermore, adding network equipment and alongside a directly attached network storage device (NAS). Coupling with preexisting headache of wondering where all the money was going to come from for all the new equipment the customer wanted a server. The server was a must considering all their files were being shared over a peer-to-peer and most of the time, no one ever new how to send files over the network. The following choices had to be made in order to properly decide which decision to make; 1. 2. 3. 4. Do we buy all new equipment and to what benefit would that be for the company? What exactly are the needs of the company at this time? What is the wish list and reality list for deciding what to buy? Bottom line; what is out available spending budget to work with and can we get and allowable increase?

Hope Center Problems + Solutions

July 22, 2003 – October 2, 2003

Harry Harshaw Thomas Watkins

Project HOPE

The client had made up a five year wish list plan with goals attached. Inside this list contained a rather lofty desire for a new network attached Xerox DocuColor printer. The printer had all the bells and whistles such as sorting, stapling, tri-fold capability and more, at a price of 10,000 dollars. This was immediately scratched off the list and the following reports how we solved the above matters at hand. Solution 1. Decide which computers should be salvaged and what upgrades could be completed 2. Find a vendor who would sell to us at rock bottom wholesale pricing 3. Receive quotes from five commercial distributors & vendors 4. Choose supplier and get approval for spending
• • • • •

CDWG Tiger Direct Best Buy Comp-USA World Wide Telecom

Hope Center Problems + Solutions

July 22, 2003 – October 2, 2003

Harry Harshaw Thomas Watkins

Project HOPE

Final Choice

Hope Center Problems + Solutions

July 22, 2003 – October 2, 2003

Harry Harshaw Thomas Watkins

Project HOPE

Obstacle Two

July 29th 2003

Software Issues Most of the machines on the network had software and hardware dependencies which could be quickly remedied; However, some software applications including Donor Easy (Application for tacking donations), had to be completely upgraded. Still other applications remained unresolved until hardware dependencies were either resolved or installed. The software issues that we had were: 1. Norton Firewall 2001 2. Norton Anti-Virus 2001 3. CPC assistant (Hope Center TCP/IP application) 4. Donor easy (Hope Center TCP/IP application) 5. Email program Microsoft outlook could not send or receive email after upgrade. Norton Firewall 2001 and Anti-Virus 2001 Solution The customer had and wanted Norton 2003 Internet security loaded on their network for each PC. The reason Norton 2001 caused a problem is that it is not compatible with Windows XP. After upgrading the Norton on each machine, security in the firewall wall had to be configured to allow networking and Internet access. CPC Assistant (Hope Center TCP/IP application) Solution Windows XP did not say that this application would have a problem it notified us as compatible. Why I do not know. This complication had to be fixed immediately. There was no slack time at all on this. The application is used on a daily basis by all employees. It took calling the technical support for CPC Assistant and spending two hours on the phone and downloading a newer version of the application from the web site to configure and make it operational with Windows XP. Donor Easy (Hope Center TCP/IP application) Solution Windows XP did not say that this application would have a problem it notified us as compatible. Why I do not know. This complication had to be fixed immediately as well. There was no slack time at all on this. The application is used on a daily basis by all employees. It took calling the technical support for Donor Easy and spending one hour on
Hope Center Problems + Solutions July 22, 2003 – October 2, 2003 Harry Harshaw Thomas Watkins

Project HOPE

the telephone and downloading a newer version of the application from the web site to configure and make it operational with Windows XP.

Email program Microsoft outlook could not send or receive email after upgrade. Solution This turned out to be the last thing that we troubleshot last night. It was an easy fix. The email was currently configured to scan all incoming and outgoing mail with Norton 2001. After the upgrade of the Norton 2001 to Norton Internet Security 2003 the problem was solved. August 9th 2003

Obstacle Three

Network Closet The existing network closet at the HOPE Center was inadequate and in the wrong place. Plumbing, HVAC, and other things were in the way of any hopeful network closet. The original wiring and modems were underneath of some dripping pipes and surrounded by a water heater which threw off a heat. Keeping mind that we wanted to install a server and a switch we knew the environment needed to be temperate or cooled. The next thing we notice was poor lighting. Solution Adjacent to the existing water closet is another closet which housed dome miscellaneous materials used around the office. i.e paper, staples and other office supplies. The space did not look utilized well so the plan turned to modifying the closet in a way which could serve the needs of the office and then first and foremost the needs of the new network. The following outlines the steps we took to get the new network closet in place. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Organize and throw away any unused items Dismantle the wooden storage shelves Measure the area for possible usage Cut and resize storage shelving and moved over the left of closet Design, build and install 30”x 72” wall mounted, custom open faced network cabinet

Hope Center Problems + Solutions

July 22, 2003 – October 2, 2003

Harry Harshaw Thomas Watkins

Project HOPE

Network Closet Solution cont.

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6. Added commercial grade romex and included separate 20 AMP circuit breaker to handle new load on circuit. 7. Installed one pull cord lamp on separate circuit for better lighting on closet 8. Installed shelving, network appliances, APC, and rerouted CAT5e cables

Obstacle Four
Hope Center Problems + Solutions July 22, 2003 – October 2, 2003 Harry Harshaw Thomas Watkins

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Project HOPE

Server Hiccup The server was to be built by tonight but there was no possible way to get it working. The reason behind this is that the motherboard that we had did not have a graphics card and it did not have one on the motherboard either. This causes a hiccup in our project since we must locate one. To keep this project under budget we must see if we can get this resource from elsewhere. Even though it seems like a small mistake it is was serious. Solution Find a video card from private stock pile or buy one.

Obstacle Five

Virus W32.Blaster.worm Today the Hope Center’s Entire Network went down for unknown reasons at the time. The workers at the hope center where suffering from the Every PC on the network is infected Typical symptoms may include Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 systems rebooting every few minutes without user input, or Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 systems becoming unresponsive. This was a setback this evening was an unplanned and serious problem that needed to be addressed. After research of the current situation, it could be fixed by running an application from Symantec the makers of Norton Anti-virus/Firewall. It is called fixblast.exe The W32.Blaster.Worm Removal Tool does the following: 1. Terminates the W32.Blaster.Worm viral processes. 2. Deletes the W32.Blaster.Worm files. 3. Deletes the dropped files. 4. Deletes the registry values that have been added.

Hope Center Problems + Solutions

July 22, 2003 – October 2, 2003

Harry Harshaw Thomas Watkins

Project HOPE

Then the Microsoft 823980 Security Patch (MS03-026) needs to be loaded from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=c8f04c6c-b71b-4992-91f1aaa785e709da&DisplayLang=en

This proved to be a time consuming task the virus was removed from the network and every thing seems to be functioning great again. At this time it is unknown where the virus came from.

Obstacle Six

Connectivity Issues Currently connectivity issues still remain a problem over at the HOPE Center. Remote connections to the HOPE center via the VPN prove to be quite solid when the SDSL connection does not reset. We are currently experiencing down time along the PSTN transmission line going to the 3COM DSL modem and the router which was connected loses sync. Communication with all connected VPN connections cease to continue or fail to reconnect after a period of four days or so. Solution Two solutions to this problem are to either install a Fractional T1 or some kind of business class cable modem connection. Unfortunately this is not feasible due to budget constraints. The recommendation has been put in for the next fiscal years budget to go ahead with implementing a different connection.

Obstacle 7

Microwave and Magnetic Transmission Interference During the WiFi installation of the network, including adapter cards and AP’s we had not considered the possibility of their being significant packet loss. We experienced at some intervals 100% packet loss due to the AP being located in the new telco closet. Surrounding conditions also made it hard to decipher what actually prevented wireless access. We soon determined that the thickness of the walls; drywall on both sides equaled 1-1/4”, metal framing studs 3-1/4”, made up for the low signal strength. Now, add to the issue a near by microwave oven on the other side of the wall. Whenever an employee turned on the microwave some machines were lucky to have 5% signal strength.
Hope Center Problems + Solutions July 22, 2003 – October 2, 2003 Harry Harshaw Thomas Watkins

Project HOPE

Some other significant noise makers were LAN cables running across some power lines in the above ceiling.

Solution 1. Remove and relocate the Linksys Access Point to a higher more centralized location. 2. Reposition the LAN cables in the trusts joists to a more private unhindered spot.

Conclusion Obstacles were a daily part of our network building experience and with it we gained some really good intelligence on how WiFi signals operate with in parameters of office spaces. We now understand more about security over WiFi, both its limitations and its benefits. One limitation on WiFi is the lack of good security to prevent war-driving; however WEP tries to prevent as much illegal access as possible.

Hope Center Problems + Solutions

July 22, 2003 – October 2, 2003

Harry Harshaw Thomas Watkins