Friday, 15 October 2010

Android tablets and a quick catch up

Wow it's been a while. Again. Busy busy busy!

Having fun with some Cisco 3750X switches with Power stack which is quite nice. I'm due to put in a network this weekend using these cracking switches. However I have heard that the link lights on the front of the switches don't always light up when something is plugged into the port (Using Universal/ipBase 53.SE IOS), so I'd recommend you do make the effort to upgrade to 55SE.

Onto Android tablets.

As a Gadgeteer (That's addicted to checking 3 times a day just in case something new was coming), I've been biding my time waiting for some technology to stick. I too was flustered at the reason for needing an iPad - It's just a very expensive tertiary device (after your laptop and phone), that was a bit on the heavy side. Let's be frank though - I had a UMPC and the technology just wasn't there. The devices were heavy, slow and died just under 2 hours after you'd started using it. Android, iOS, and Blackberry's OS's are here to stay!

So why would I buy one?

As a frequenter of customer sites I need a device that's lightweight; with long battery life, and has a camera, so I can make notes about "That Wireless access point is dead, what is the port number so I can check the other end?". Or even being able to use an SSH client or RDP session to just check something out without coming back to the laptop.

On top of that, we have the usual suspects. Newspapers, videos (Not that I have time!), music and social networking. I'd love to blog more often but when I get home I don't want to have to wait 20 minutes for my archaic laptop to get booted and ready to go.

So 7" or 10" screen? The iPad is just to heavy for what I want to use it for (Standing up in a comms room, I can't type comfortably for any length of time - I'd rather use my thumbs likeon my phone). 10" would be nice for reading though.

Oh and one other thing. E-Reader's will NOT die because of this impending tablet onslaught. Extended reading of books needs a screen that doesn't glare at you. And also I'd be too easily distracted by Facebook or some other app. I have a Sony PRS 505 and it's awesome.

So the requirements for me are:

- MUST have Android Marketplace
- Good screen with easy-to-type keyboard
- GSM would be nice, but I could find a way round it
- Camera of some kind
- SD card slot
- Kick stand would be nice
- 7" screen preferably
- Would be nice if Android 3.0 was on it's roadmap

So I've pretty much talked myself into either the Archos 70 or the Samsung Galaxy Tab. But someone should take a stand and say that the Samsung Galaxy Tab MUST come down in price. There is simply NO WAY that it can cost £350 more than an Advent Vega considering the spec sheet. It shouldn't cost more than an iPad either. It's looking like the Archos is the number one option at the moment (Provided it can be hacked to get the Android Marketplace).

Oh and biggest bug bears about Android in it's current form (2.2 Froyo):

- No proxy settings for browsing
- Only one popup window allowed at any one time
- Too few apps being built by big names (They're still only building for iOS, even though Android Tablets are going to FLY off the shelves this xmas)
- Not enough Apps using the Move to SD card feature

I've got my credit card in hand. Come on Samsung - you know what to do.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Fixed issue with no-way voice across QSIG E1 trunk and 2800 Series router

Very strange this one.

We have multiple customers running SP Services 12.4-15T12 and we appeared to hit an intermittent bug with a particular customer. This customer has a 2800 series router with 2x E1 links to a PBX using QSIG. The symptoms are that occasionally you get no-way voice across the trunk to the PBX, when the call originates from either direction. I've been running 12.4-24T3 for a few days now and the issue doesn't appear to have occurred again.

Here is the response from TAC:

It can happen on any gateway that is using c5510 DSPs (PVDM2-x where x=
8 or 16 or 32 or 64) using IOS 124-15T10 through 124-15T13 (dsp version
9.4.9 through 9.4.12).

My suggestion would be to keep an eye on it cause the bug does not happen *all* the time, it is a intermittent and random issue where you will start experiencing random one-way or no-way or complete dead air calls. You can open a TAC case at that point and get the DSP firmware from the fix.

So to clarify:
Once the issue is encountered and you want to stay on 124-15T train until 124-15T14 is released on CCO, you will have to:

load 1240-15T13 IOS image PLUS also contact TAC and get the DSP firmware version (which will eventually be bundled in 124-15T14). The bug id you can reference is CSCtf25886.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Fixed issue with ICMP packets not reaching OpManager probe

Came across a problem today and was fixed with help from Simon. A WAN CPE router was still reachable via SSH, but OpManager kept reporting it down due to polls failing. This turned out to be because a scheduled server backup was absorbing 100% of the 512k bandwidth.

A QoS policy existed already for voice, but attempts to match traffic that were heading to the SNMP server (IE the polls) using a class-map/access-list combo didn't calm the symptoms.

The main reason is that the ICMP packets are generated by the router so it's difficult to mark this traffic (unlike traffic that is passing through the router, like typical voice traffic).

Fixed the issue using ip local policy, with an access list and a Route Map:

ip local policy route-map set-dscp-icmp

ip access-list extended OPMANAGER
permit ip any host

route-map set-dscp-local permit 10

match ip address OPMANAGER

set ip precedence 5
set ip dscp ef

Friday, 13 November 2009

Cisco Energywise

We've just tried Cisco Energywise for a customer who had a large flat Layer 2 network across a Metropolitan area. We enabled Cisco Energywise on every switch across the network for future use with an IPT system, but we hit quite a big problem.

We couldn't quite identify which switch was doing it, but we placed 3 Energywise domains into the network and at least one of the switches then started to broadcast around 3Mbit/s of broadcast traffic onto the network. We had to turn off Energywise on all switches to get the issue to go away!

Switch IOS used was 2960 LAN Lite 52.SE2

Enable with caution - use sniffer traces to check for broadcast traffic through VLANs and check interface statistics to see if your counters are incrementing like mad!

Friday, 25 September 2009

A view on the right task for the job

What got this post going was noticing the very exciting news about the new Microsoft Courier device on show on Gizmodo. For those not familiar, you should google it to find out what all the fuss is about and draw your own conclusions.

It got me thinking about how my sense of "want" or desire for these new type of gadgets is changing rather alot, and it's largely down to having to fight the urge to instantly think "I want!!", and think more about what the device can do for me. Unless if you have an endless stream of income it becomes difficult to justify trying to purchase every device under the sun; so it has led me to start to think more constructively about what I want from a device/gadget.

If we take my recent obsession with looking at Netbooks. Sure they look cool and seem to have enough poke to run Windows 7 (probably) but would I really need one? if you take for intance that i'm writing this blog post on a HTC Touch Pro 2; i have enough power in my hands to be able to do what i want to on the internet without having to find a charger for the netbook or wait for it to boot up.

There's quite a few comments out there about how the new Courier will be locked down that will prevent users from doing all sorts on them, such as using them as fully fledged PC's or trying to run games on them. But the reason why i think such a device (as well as others such as ereaders) could be very successful is because they arent trying to be a device that tries to do too many things. If it does then it becomes heavy, inefficient, and above all - expensive. I got quite excited about when i got my IBM x60 tablet PC but soon realised it wasn't all it was cracked up to be because it's still a very expensive way of being able to use digital ink for OneNote notes. Using the stylus for anything other than taking notes is pretty slow and cumbersome (hence why i think UMPCs never really took off).

I'll be curious to see what Apple does with it's tablet PC and whether it's a big hit or not (it might well be, just because it's an Apple - not my opinion of course). As far as I can see it will still fall into the same pit falls as Microsoft's tablet PC efforts but let's wait and see.

If the Courier does exist though i highly commend MS for their creative thinking and views on the devices' ability to satisfy the requirements of many people by using technology to actually do something more useful than it just being a cool feature.

Just make it cheap. Please!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Unity 7.0 with AD 2008/Exchange 2007 tips

With the problems encountered in deploying Unity 7.0(2) with Exchange 2007 and Active Directory 2008, these notes have been created.

Things to watch out for:

- The ADSchema update .exe file WILL NOT RUN on Windows Server 64-bit. So instead, you have to run the following on the FSMO role holder AD controller (Disable replication using repapp if you want to, but once happy you need to push replication out to all other DC's in the forest and wait for replication before continuing setup!). Ldifde.exe is included with Windows Server 2008 (Google to find out more on MS's help pages and read up about it first):

ldifde.exe -i -k -c "<ConfigurationContainerDN>" "CN=Configuration,DC=hyperv64,DC=local" -s -f "c:\Schema\LdifScripts\avdirmonex2k.ldf"

You may be tempted to think that "<ConfigurationContainerDN>" is a variable that you need to edit of some sort! It isn't - it's actually used by the script to replace all references of that string within the script with the DC names found in the "CN=Configuration..." stuff. However, DO change the "CN=Configuration..." part for your AD design and the location of your scripts.

The avdirmonex2k.ldf file is the only one you need to run, unless you wish to run Unity Bridge or VPIM - then you'll need to do the others too (All found in the \Schema\ folder on the Unity DVD 1). Successful running of the script will give you a short message to say that roughly 110 entries were added. You can also double check this by going to a user in AD (Users and Computers); then right click and Properties, and there should be a tab for Attributes. You should find a load of Cisco ones added.

- Make sure you set an MSDE password following the instructions! If you don't, the rollout of the Exchange 2003 MAPI (Found in the Exchange 2003 deployment tools) gave me error messages because it finds that there is no password on the DB. Don't forget to install Exchange 2003 SP2 updates (Found on the Unity Service Packs DVD) otherwise Unity installation will fail (The MAPI isn't up to date).

- Be careful to change the Unity installation directories to D: away from C: - it's easy to miss but will lead to a world of pain if you don't.

- Exchange 2007 with Unity 7 does NOT SUPPORT adding new subscribers through the interface. You have to add new users through AD/Exchange 2007 and then import them into Unity.

- Don't forget to harden up your restriction tables after installation. Don't forget that there are several restriction tables (Click the Looking glass/search button to find them all). Changing the top value to 9* and allowed "No" is enough to stop most/if not all toll fraud holes in Unity.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

CUPS 7 and VMWare

Aye up,

After a period that felt like pulling teeth, I finally got CUPS 7 to install on VMWare. I got all sorts of crashes and mount problems with even doing an upgrade using ESXi that I decided to use Windows based VMWare. Thankfully it installed, and as a matter of course i used IDE drive mode instead of SCSI. I'd be interested to know if anyone else has had similar problems. The version I was trying to install was

Oh and by the way, I certainly got stuck by this for not RTFM, but just so you know you MUST have CUPS 7, with CUCM 7, otherwise the Sync Agent won't work and you won't get AXL users jumping across the pipe to CUPS.

Monday, 2 February 2009

CUCM NFR bundle finally arrives!

Hi all,

We've probably been waiting 3 months for our NFR bundle, which is pretty ridiculous to be honest. We've actually been holding back putting CallManager 7.0 deployments for customers and going for 6.x instead as it's been such a nightmare waiting for software and licenses.

But today, I get excited!

I'm currently upgrading Presence 6.x to 7.x as we ran into a problem with CUPS 7.0 where it decided to stop it's Sync Agent working after we upgraded from CUCM 6.1 to 7.0! The symptoms are that the Sync Agent refuses to start on CUPS (And we get an error in the troubleshooter to say the version of CUCM has changed), and that AXL sync's no longer work to CUCM, so new users on CUCM don't get plumbed across to CUPS. More on this to follow!

One other bit of oddness was that i'm running Unity Connection 2.1 (latest ES release) in VMWare. I wanted to upgrade it to UCX 7.0, but the OS Administration tells me that the version i'm running does not permit upgrades using the disk I have. A bit odd, but i'll try to find a workaround before taking the plunge and reinstalling it completely.

Finally, I have the discs for IPCC Express 7, and Mobility Advantage, which should be pretty cool products to get going in the lab.

The intention is to buy a PC from Ebay (around £200) with a dual core Athlon CPU, load it up with RAM, Disk space and network cards; and then to run the four primary products on that server from my house as the start of a CCIE lab. Throw in some 2621 XM's into the mix, and we have a Cisco Disco!

Monday, 1 December 2008


Ok it has pretty awful documentation, but i'm actually starting to warm to it. I just set it up for a customer with seemingly minimal fuss and happiness is in the air. Can't wait to get hold of version 7 and combine it with Mobility Advantage! I'm waiting for all the software and i'll try to do a bit of an article with Callmanager 7 whenever it arrives!

Monday, 10 November 2008


I really hate CUPS.