The Gathering Technical blog

Short status update…

17 Apr 2014, by from Tech:Net

Some of you may have experienced some problems with the internet, the wireless and the network in general. We have had some minor issues with the internet link, with the internal routing and the wireless. Everything was on track and working before 09 Wednesday morning, but we never really know how well things work before at least a few thousand participants actually arrive and connect to the network and put some load on it.

*The wireless: *
We had some small problems with the servers to start with, and then some small problems with the configuration. The main problem here was that we had to prioritize the cabled network.

We are still working on improving the wireless solution and hope that we have everything optimized by tomorrow morning.

The internal network:
We don’t have one specific problem to point to, more like hundreds of small problems. The list is long and it contains everything from bug in software to missing parts and some human error. But there have not been any major incidents.

The internet, which is a two part problem:
1. We have 4x10Gig links in a port bundle down to Blix Solutions in Oslo. These were connected and tested OK on Friday. When participants arrived on Wednesday and the links became loaded with traffic we started to see problems with the load balancing. We removed two ports that weren’t performing well from the bundle and continued on 100% working 20Gig (2x10Gig).

This morning, around 11:00, SmartOptics arrived with new optical transceivers and converters. They checked the transceivers on the links we had problems with using an optical microscope and could see that they weren’t completely clean. Using special cleaning sauce, they managed to remove the dust and dirt from our transceivers, leaving it to us to put them back in the bundle, now in 100% working condition. Next year we’ll make sure to be more adamant about this before patching things together.

2. Origin, Steam, Blizzard, NRK, Microsoft, HP, Twitch… Some of these services rely on geolocation. There are multiple providers of geolocation service (like MaxMind), but the services usually charge money per database pull. This means that the cheaper the companies are, the longer between every pull. This means that we can be seen as being in Norway for some services that update often, but in Russia, Puerto Rico, Italy or Antarctica etc from companies that pull data from the geolocation database less frequently.

The reason for this is because our IP-address range is a temporary allocation from RIPE. RIPE has a pool with IP-addresses they lend out for a short amount of time to temporary events. This means that we are not guaranteed to get the same IP-addresses every year and that a lot of different events in different countries have been using the allocation in the months before us.

We are working continuously to solve this. We talk to Origin/EA and Valve, we try to NAT the most known and most used services through permanent Norwegian IP-addresses and we do ugly DNS-hacks. The sad fact is however that in the limited amount of time we have during TG, we won’t be able to solve this for every service.


TG - Technical Blog is the unofficial rambling place for The Gathering.


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