[Rack] network down this afternoon, an interesting guide for people who want to help when the network goes down

Danny O'Brien dannyobrien at gmail.com
Mon Jun 4 21:02:54 PDT 2012

Summary: my suspicion is that our DHCP server is still on the fritz,
but we got sidetracked. see
https://www.noisebridge.net/pipermail/rack/2012-May/001543.html for
rebooting DHCP server

1. Somebody says to me "oh the Internet is down"
2. I say, in a friendly tone, "Do I look like I'm in charge?"
3. Person says, also friendly, "No-one is in charge, but you look like
somebody who might know someone who can get the Internet back up" <--
10 anarchist hackerspace points!
4. I loudly say "Is the Internet down for everyone?"
5. Everyone mutters yes.
6. I loudly say "who wants to help fix it?"
7. General roar of acclaim, followed by hesitancy
8. Me and (Paula?) start loudly troubleshooting the Wall of Tubes,
surrounded by people standing around trying to work out how to be
9. I fail to make everyone useful. Minus ten anarchist hackers points to me.
10. Me and Paula decide to try powercycling the DSL modem, followed by
resetting the DSL modem, because it only has 3 lights green and the
Internet light is unlit
11. This turns out to be wrong thing to do. Much of what I do next is
based on getting us back out of this error.
11.5 I bug SuperQ about various things. He has a cold and is working,
but is helpful.
12. Meanwhile, Hal turns up and notes that he can't get onto the
network via an AP.
13. We work out that this is because he isn't getting an IP. Wired
devices are also not getting IPs.
14. Hal learns about netmasks and /24s
15. I call up Sonic and they are awesome. They explain how to fix DSL
modem. I leave note on modem instructing future noisebridgers not to
reset DSL modem, and that 3 lights is fine.
16. Once that is fixed, people get on Internet again. I suspect DHCP
server magically resolved itself.

I will try and think of ways we can detect when stuff goes down. It's
very hard for people in the space to know where to start, especially
when all the docs about the network are a) only on the internets, and
b) a bit out of date (are they out of date?). It's also a bit unfair
on both SuperQ and Jof to depend on them to troubleshoot this stuff.


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