We’ve been informed that some electrical testing will be carried out in January which will disrupt wired and wireless networking in the following locations:

Mon 4th Jan

  • The Hawthornes

Weds 6th Jan

  • 7 Priory Rd
  • Woodland Court
  • 5 Osborne Villas
  • 12 Osborne Villas
  • 16 Osborne Villas
  • 28 St Michaels Park
  • 32 St Michaels Park
  • The Hawthornes

We apologise for the lack of notice, and for the inevitable disruption that this will cause. Unfortunately we don’t yet have any details of how long the disruption will last.

After 12 years of being supported by Microsoft, Windows XP went end of life 8th April 2014.

This means that Microsoft are no longer producing security updates for it (or Internet Explorer 8) leaving computers that are running Windows XP more exposed to security threats than more recent versions of Windows. Windows XP is now quite an attractive target for hackers, as any security vulnerabilities which are found in it will go unfixed.

IT Services strongly recommends that if you’ve got a Windows XP computer, you think about upgrading it as described by Microsoft themselves here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows/end-support-help

When it comes to ResNet Wired (or eduroam Wireless), we’re not actively blocking XP computers from connecting. However the IT Service Desk or the Student Laptop and Mobile Clinic are no longer providing support for XP on ResNet Wired or eduroam.

If you encounter problems connecting to ResNet Wired with your XP computer, IT Services will be unable to give you much help in the way of troubleshooting.

If you have a Windows XP computer which you desperately need to connect to ResNet, are not going to be using it for processing university data (doing so would contravene the University Mobile and Remote Working Policy), and are willing to accept the risks of doing so – the setup instructions are still available here: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/it-services/resnet/help/connectionguide.pdf

We’ve recently changed the DNS Servers used by ResNet, to some new servers running on some much better hardware.

Most peoples computers have moved seamlessly over to the new DNS servers, but there are less than 20 computers still trying to use the old servers. We’ve done all we can to encourage these computers to start using the new servers but it looks like they’re not configured in our recommended manner so will need manual intervention to move.

The old servers have now been switched off, and when we do so things will break for that small handful of machines. If your ResNet Wired connection stops working, here’s what you need to do.

  1. Reboot your computer. In some cases this will cause it to pick up the new settings automatically
  2. Check your network settings, and make sure you’re set to “obtain DNS server addresses automatically”

If restarting doesn’t work, and your connection is already set to “obtain DNS server addresses automatically” check to see what DNS Servers you’ve been given.

They should start with “137.222.8.x” – if they start with “172.16.67.x” your computer hasn’t picked up the new servers properly. If this is the case, give the IT Service Desk a call, or take your computer along to the Laptop Clinic and we’ll try and help you work out why.

Part of the infrastructure which runs the ResNet back end has developed a hardware fault, some of the services it’s running are currently in a degraded state. We need to move services off it asap.

The following services are affected:

– http://go.resnet.bris.ac.uk – will be unavailable for up to an hour while we move it
– http://my.resnet.bris.ac.uk – will be unavailable for up to an hour while we move it
– DNS (ResNet Wired) will be in a degraded state, and web browsing for 50% of currently connected ResNet customers will be slower than usual
– DHCP (ResNet Wired) will be working, in a non-resilient state
– The ResNet channel in portal.bris.ac.uk will be unavailable for up to an hour while we move it

Various other administrative tools (eg the troubleshooting system used by the Service Desk when troubleshooting ResNet connection problems) will also be affected.

Important: Wireless is not affected at all, so if you’re experiencing wired connection issues – try the wireless.

Updates will follow as we get them.

Update 24th March, 16:15
– http://go.resnet.bris.ac.uk – is now available again
– http://my.resnet.bris.ac.uk – is now available again
– The ResNet channel in portal.bris.ac.uk is now available again
– DNS/DHCP (ResNet Wired) – This is now back in service in a non-resilient manner (both the primary and secondary are on the same hypervisor) which will get us through tonight but isn’t ideal in the long term.

Update 24th March, 16:56
We’ve started to move people onto a new pair of DNS servers to improve resilience and reduce the load on the non-resilient hypervisor. Early indications are that the new servers are performing nicely and that people are moving across to them smoothly as their DHCP lease renews.

Update 25th March, 10:51
The temporary hardware we used to restore service yesterday is overcommitted and while it’s working, it’s at the limit of what it can handle. We will be moving services off it today onto a more permanent home, and we’ll try to minimise downtime while we do so.

Update 26th March, 09:28
Some services are taking substantially longer than expected to migrate. We kicked off the migration of 3 VMs last night, and they’ve still not fully completed. The following services are currently unavailable:
– http://go.resnet.bris.ac.uk – (still migrating)
– http://my.resnet.bris.ac.uk – (still migrating)
– http://www.resnet.bris.ac.uk redirects (the content is still available at http://www.bristol.ac.uk/it-services/advice/homeusers/resnet)

Update 26th March, 11:00
Everything is back up on new hardware.

Update 2014-01-24 10:50am As of about 10:45am the replacement server is up and handling DNS queries so we’re back in business.

Sorry for the disruption!

We had some maintenance scheduled for 9am-10am this morning, which would have resulted in slow DNS performance for a small number of users for a comparatively short amount of time.

Unfortunately we hit some issues, the work over-ran, and then the last stage of the work failed completely rendering a DNS server unbootable.

As a result, ResNet Wired is currently running on only one DNS server.

The server which is missing is the primary for 50% of ResNet, so half of our customers will be seeing slower than usual internet access as it’s taking longer than usual to resolve domain names.

We’re in the process of building a replacement server, and we hope to have normal service restored as soon as possible.

This issue does not affect the wireless network.

This electrical work has been cancelled pending rescheduling
This electrical work has been rescheduled for 15th Feb 2014

Due to essential electrical maintenance work in the Social Sciences block, ResNet Wired and eduroam wireless will be unavailable in the following properties for approximately 6 hours on Saturday 15th Feb 2014.

  • The Hawthorns
  • 1-8 Priory Road
  • 10,67,77,79,97 Woodland Road
  • 28,29,30-33 St Michaels Park
  • Osbourne Villas
  • Woodland Court

In addition to the wired/wireless networking, university provided telephones in those properties will not be available either.

For more details about the wider impact of this work, please see the IT Services news item: http://www.bris.ac.uk/it-services/news/2013/electrical9dec.html

In an effort to resolve some of the wireless coverage problems we’ve been having at Chantry Court, we’ll be replacing all the wireless equipment in the building on Wednesday 11th December 2013.

We’ll be in the building physically replacing all the wireless access points with a higher capacity model, and it’s going to take us a while to get around all 8 floors.  We’ve worked out a process which should minimise the amount of disruption, but you should consider your wireless access to be “at risk” for most of the day.  Wireless access in some flats may be unavailable for up to 2 hours, although we’ll do our best to reduce that as much as possible.

The ResNet Wired network will not be affected by this work, so if you haven’t already done so you might want to activate your wired connection now to ensure you’ve got some form of connectivity while the upgrade is in progress.

Update: 2013-11-12:53 This work is now complete, and all the new equipment appears to be working.

ResNet Wired, ResNet Wireless, eduroam on campus, 3 systems, 2 setup tools, 2 sets of instructions… that’s all a bit confusing, perhaps it’s time we simplified all that.

This summer, we’re going to wave goodbye to ResNet Wireless and make eduroam available in the halls of residence.  This will mean that you only have to set up your computer/phone/tablet once, and it’ll work in halls and on campus.   Much simpler for you, and much easier for us to support!

We’ve made the first step in that direction already, and the eduroam wireless signal is now available in halls.  If your computer is already set up to use eduroam when you’re on campus you’ll find you can already use eduroam in your room!  Somewhere around 12% of the devices we normally see connecting to ResNet Wireless are already connecting to the eduroam signal.

We’ve still got a bit of work to do to transition fully to eduroam in halls, but the timeline looks a bit like this:

  • 7th May 2013 – we added the eduroam (and Bristol-WiFi-Setup) signals to the wireless coverage in halls
  • 17th June 2013 – we’ll start contacting those who haven’t migrated, so that if they’re staying on in halls they don’t lose out
  • 24th June 2013 – we switch off the ResNet Wireless signal

Somewhere in between those two dates we’ll be launching a new version of the connection instructions for new users, updating the website, and making sure that anyone who hasn’t moved over to eduroam does so. The IT Service Desk will be laying on some additional telephone support (starting on the 24th June) for anyone who needs help migrating – we don’t want to leave anyone stranded with no internet!

The super-high-speed ResNet Wired service will be staying around, and will not be changing.  At some point in the future (probably 2014/2015) we’d like to make the setup of the wired service the same as eduroam.  The idea being that you set up your computer once and use it on the wired or wireless, seamlessly – but that’s a little way off yet!

We’ve not sent one out in a while, so it’s ResNet Newsletter time again!  This time round, we’re making wireless easier to use, changing the way we do bandwidth limiting, and recruiting some new student staff!

Work for ResNet!
Each year a large number of students join the team which run ResNet. A job with ResNet offers competitive pay and excellent experience whilst working with, and helping other, Bristol students. It can be hard work but it is enjoyable, a chance to develop your technical, interpersonal and professional skills, and great experience for future employers.

Jobs start in September and much work takes place around Freshers’ week and the start of the Autumn term. There is the opportunity for a few hours per week during term time for the rest of the 2013/14 academic year working in the Student Laptop and Mobile Clinic. Also, we are often looking for interns to help us with specific projects over Easter and/or Summer vacations.

The closing date for applications is 10am, Monday June 10th 2013, for more information and an application form, see our jobs page: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/it-services/resnet/info/behindscene/vacancies13.html

eduroam is coming home
This summer, we’re going to wave goodbye to ResNet Wireless and make eduroam available in the halls of residence.  This will mean that you only have to set up your computer/phone/tablet once, and it’ll work in halls and on campus.   Much simpler for you, and much easier for us to support!

We’ve made the first step in that direction already, and the eduroam wireless signal is now available in halls.  If your computer is already set up to use eduroam when you’re on campus you’ll find you can already use eduroam in your room!  We’ll be shutting down the ResNet Wireless signal after the end of term on Monday 24th June 2013 but don’t worry, we’ll have lots of lovely instructions and extra telephone support available for anyone staying in halls after that date to help you move over.

Bandwidth Limits
As part of the move towards eduroam, we’ve taken the bandwidth limits off of Wireless ResNet.  We’re still counting how much data transfer you do on ResNet Wireless (and Wired) but we’re no longer taking any action based on the wireless data so use as much as you like, within reason!  The bandwidth limits are still in place on Wired ResNet, so if you use both you’ll still want to keep an eye on My ResNet: https://my.resnet.bristol.ac.uk to see how much you’re using.

At 12:00, Weds 17th April we lost all connectivity to the Stoke Bishop Halls.  We’re investigating, but currently the following services are not available:

  • ResNet Wired internet access
  • ResNet Wireless internet access
  • Eduroam
  • UOB telephones
  • Halls Admin connections

All residences at Stoke Bishop are offline, including:

  • Hiatt Baker
  • University Hall
  • Badock
  • Churchill
  • The Holmes
  • Durdham
  • Wills Hall
  • Grounds and Gardens Offices
  • Downs Workshop

We don’t have much information, but we’ve got a network engineer on his way to site to see what’s going on.  We’ll update this blog post as and when we get details.

Update Weds 17th, 12:44
It appears that all the fibre runs which connect Stoke Bishop halls back to the main campus have been cut through.  We’re currently trying to locate the position of the break, and will be liaising with our fibre contractor to get a fix put in place.  We don’t have any timescales for a fix at this stage, but will know more when we’ve been in touch with our contractors.  More updates to follow when we have them.

Update Weds 17th, 14:42
We’ve identified the location of the break (which is in the middle of the Hiatt Baker 2 building site) and our contractors are currently digging a bypass trench so they can splice in a repair to the fibre.   They will be laying the bypass duct much deeper than the existing duct, which was surprisingly close to the surface.  If all goes to plan, we’re hoping service can be restored by 7pm, but we’ll continue to update this post when more information becomes available.

We’ve just been sent this photo of the damage:


Update Weds 17th, 17:58 (Mark, ResNet Manager)

Netwoking has been restored for all of Stoke Bishop.  Thank you to everyone who helped get this serious loss of service up and running again in a very short period of time – Fibre splicing is not easy!

And a welcome quote from Professor Robert Mayhew, Warden of Churchill Hall:

“Dear Mark,

Just to echo what you said on the Resnet blog, I am really impressed by the speed with which the Networking team managed to resolve this issue. The level of information for staff on the ground was also first class!”