Impromptu Work Trip to Victoria and Houston

This week was supposed to be a full week in the office with no traveling planned. Tuesday was also a skeleton crew day where most of the office was out. I decided to work to build an extra day off. I received a call in the morning stating the office in Victoria’s internet was down. I did some remote troubleshooting and got on the phone with the Internet Service Provider (ISP). After a while, it was determined we needed to have a tech from the ISP to come on site to fix things.

This particular ISP pretty much sucks. I was told someone would call me back to let me know when the tech was scheduled to come on site. Well nobody called. I finally called back a couple hours later and found they had scheduled a tech for 8am the next morning. In the meantime, I found out they had swapped some router hardware on their back-end and multiple business customers in that area were having the same issue. In addition, they insisted the issue was on our end, even though the outage coincided with their change and other customers were having the exact same issue. I see this was going to be fun to troubleshoot.

The tech promptly arrived at 8am Wednesday morning. It seems the ISP thought it was a good idea not to issue their techs a laptop so he was pretty much dead in the water in terms of troubleshooting. I was able to recruit an agent who had a cellular air card. I could remote in through that to test a few things. After troubleshooting the whole day over the phone and trying to have an agent and the tech be my eyes and hands, we determined it would be best for me to just come on site.

The tech was actively working with multiple people at their main office. The only thing those people could tell him was, “The other businesses that were down’s IT made a change and it worked.” They couldn’t tell me what the change was. Since we didn’t have a console cable to log into the router and I needed to see some things on the router, it was approved by my boss to hit the road and troubleshoot this in person.

Since it was such short notice, I had to take my car. I packed it up before I left for work that day. Because Highway 59 goes from Victoria to Houston and the drive is closer from Victoria to Houston than Austin to Houston, it was planned after I finished in Victoria, I’d drive over to Houston to install a UPS there.

Thursday morning I was up bright and early and hit the road at 6am. I made it to Victoria by 8:30. The tech from the ISP came in at 9 and we started troubleshooting the issues. Within a few minutes of troubleshooting on the phone with their business support, I could see when they changed the equipment, they also changed the subnetting. They denied this but upon configuring the interface with the new subnet, the internet magically came back up. This was working for years prior to this and coincidentally broke multiple business customers after their change.

I was happy to get the internet working. I then did the usual site visit checklist of taking pictures, doing printer inventory, and conducting network speed tests. I also fixed whatever user issues they could think of. By 12:30, I was on the road for Houston. I arrived in Houston with the UPS a couple hours later. I found out the power outlets were incorrect for the plug so I loaded the UPS back into my car.

I then proceeded to fix any issues that were happening. There were only a few issues since I pretty much took care of the issues during my last visit and one of the other members of IT was there a week or two prior to work on phone system issues. He took care of some user issues also on his visit. By 6pm, I was out the door and off to the hotel. The traffic sucked so it took me almost an hour to get to the hotel. Overall the hotel was decent.

I decided to try out Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers and got a sandwich and fries.

By the end of the day, I was pretty tied. I got some sleep and then woke up early. I ate breakfast and was on the road back to Austin at 6:30am. I made it all the way to La Grange and then made a quick stop. I decided to grab a snack and try dill pickle pork rinds.

Shortly after, I made it back to Austin to work the rest of the day in the office. Since I don’t have anything this weekend in regards to classes and I am no longer on call, I am very tempted to take another road trip.

To see more of my adventures, click on the map! Or if you prefer to see a list of more blog entries, click here.

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