Downed Router in San Angelo

A downed connection is never fun. It means a site is down and people are getting impatient for you to get it back up. The ISP changed our static IP address and since we don’t have out of band management, we cannot connect remotely to the router to type the commands in to change it to the new static IP. The router ended up being old and needed to be replaced anyway, so we decided to configure a new one and replace it. Now we have a bunch of Cisco 819’s laying around that work on cellular connections. I have used them in a pinch in places like Houston as a temporary connection and have also as permanent solutions in places like Laredo.

With high profile incidents like Ferguson, or whatever seems to be in the media currently, the dynamics of law enforcement is changing. There is a demand for body cams. People think body cams consist of just cameras, but in reality, there’s a lot of backend infrastructure required to make them work so they can transfer and store video for specific amounts of time. The cellular connection will just not cut it for internet speeds to transfer video. With that, we decided to provision an 819 with a wired connection. We were going to pilot this first, but we got a trial by fire when San Angelo went down.

I basically made the call to go on site since this was the first time we implemented this router like this and, like any Cisco device where you cannot connect once you send it out, it’s a matter of typing in the commands to configure it and then pray it works when it gets on site. Add that and the fact someone non-technical is hooking it up and it’s risky to just send these things out. I was hedging my bets that we may have missed a command or we’d have difficulties getting it hooked up for us by someone else and also didn’t want a week or more’s downtime in trying to do everything remotely, so a trip was rapidly planned.

I quickly programmed the router, boxed it up, and got myself ready to go.

The drive there went from Hill Country hilly…

…to some winding hills…

…to flat as heck.

When I got to the office, it was this huge building with a bunch of state offices in it.

I had to look around a while on the office directory before I finally found TABC.

The hallway was insanely long and I got some exercise walking to the other end where the TABC office was.

I made a good call on going to the office. There were a few things that needed the configuration tweaked and we wouldn’t have been able to do that remotely. Within an hour or two, everything was finally up and working.

Obviously, this was a last minute trip. Our administrative assistant (who is amazing, by the way, and books all the hotel stays when I travel) mentioned that the hotel I was going to stay at might be a bit sketchy and offered to find another one. This was the only direct bill one in the area and it was a La Quinta, so I wasn’t too worried. I’ve always had decent luck with La Quinta’s and after staying at the crappy hotel in Marinette, it takes a lot to shock me as sketchy.

The main sketchy part of this hotel is that it was a motel with the room doors on the outside.

The initial look inside looked pretty decent overall.

The tub was kind of nasty though.

After a little walking around in bare feet, they got a little dirty.

I saw the weirdest microwave that had outlets on it.

I was getting hungry so I decided to get something to eat. I was looking for something close and Mexican sounded good. I went to this place across the highway called Nacho’s.

Lucky it wasn’t Sunday, because they would have been gone to church.

Like any typical Mexican restaurant, they brought chips and salsa.

Then came the refried beans.

Finally, the main course. The Tour of Mexico!

The food was pretty amazing and probably some of the best Mexican I’ve had so far. The service was also great. I think if I end up in San Angelo again, this might be a place to frequent. While there were a few issues with the hotel, it wasn’t bad overall and I got a good night’s sleep. The next morning, I had to walk to the separate conference center for breakfast.

This was one of the rare La Quinta’s without eggs and bacon. I got some bagels, yogurt, apple juice, and coffee for some pep.

I went to the office to confirm everything was good to go. It was, so I was able to hit the road right away. One interesting thing is the state office building is right by Fort Concho. The Fort Concho buildings are preserved.

After getting a quick glance at Fort Concho, I started heading back to Austin. A lot of the drive is 2 lane highways and you get stuck behind a lot of slow moving vehicles and have to wait miles to pass. At least this one wasn’t a toll road.

Overall, this trip turned out to be a success. We got the router up and running faster than I thought we would and proved it could work with a wired connection. I also found some awesome Mexican food and the hotel wasn’t as sketchy as everyone made it out to be. I’m going to be on the road installing more routers, so stay tuned!

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