Upgrade to the G-28, 7.0.7 .2 network: September 9-18th

Good Afternoon, Everyone,

You are receiving this email because you are a current customer with service on our G28 .2 network.

We are pleased to announce that our long anticipated upgrade to the .2 network will begin this Friday afternoon, September 9th at 5pm. For a complete review of the purpose of this upgrade and its status to date, please see the blog post: Update on iDX Upgrade — Aug 27 Maintenance

Based on what we learned during the aborted upgrade of July 23rd, and further consultation with iDirect, we have developed a new procedure that will minimize customer downtime and allow for a smoother upgrade process. Most importantly, this procedure does not require a “big switch” or extended outage, but will instead be done in stages over a 10-day period. You will be able to continue using your Internet service throughout this upgrade process.

In Brief:

The upgrade procedure we are following will require two short outages for each remote on the network, each of approximately 5 minutes in duration. During the first outage, your remote will be moved to transitional space segment. This transitional space will allow you to continue to use your satellite Internet service while we complete the rest of the upgrade. Once we are ready to upgrade your modem, you will experience a second short outage while your modem is upgraded to iDX and returned to its permanent space. For the majority of our customers, this process will take place September 9-11. We have reserved the transitional space for an additional eight days, to allow us the opportunity to individually work with certain special case customers to insure that their upgrade goes smoothly as well.

What you need to do:

If you have a fixed antenna, you do not need to do anything. Simply leave your modem turned on over the weekend, and we will complete the upgrade normally. If you are curious as to if your upgrade has been completed, please send email to support@skycasters.com, with your account number in the subject line, and ask for a status on your upgrade. We’ll be happy to let you know where you are in the queue.

For the smoothest possible upgrade for you, please be sure to leave your system online over the weekend.

If you have a mobile (auto-pointing) dish, and you are planning to be online over the weekend, great. We’ll move you with everyone else. If you are not planning to be online over the weekend, simply call the NOC between September 12th and September 16th, and we will be happy to upgrade you in real-time (330-785-2101). Real time upgrade will require you to deploy your dish, and will require about 15 minutes to complete the upgrade and verify proper operation. (Note: If you can’t call in during that time, not to worry, we can complete the upgrade later – when it is convenient for you.)

All the details:

In order to facilitate this move, we have acquired additional capacity on G28. We will use this capacity to set up a transitional network to support the upgrade. This transitional network will allow all remotes to remain active and online during the upgrade period. Beginning on Friday evening at 5pm, we will begin moving remotes to the transitional network. Before we move a remote, we will verify it is online and stable with good numbers, and that the remote has been idle for at least 10 minutes. We are anticipating that by following this check-and-verify procedure, we will be able to make the move without disrupting user activity. This move will result in a service interruption of a few minutes as your modem reboots. We will be moving approximately one third of our .2 customers to the transitional network on Friday evening.

Beginning on Saturday morning, we will be moving the remaining .2 customers to our transitional network. By Saturday afternoon, we anticipate that 90% of our customers will have been moved to the transitional network. The only customers that will not be moved are any mobiles (or other sites) that are off line.

On Sunday morning, we will begin the actual iDX upgrade. At this time, the 7.0.7 .2 carrier will be decommissioned, and replaced with the new iDX carrier. At the same time, the revision server will be started. The revision server will allow those customers not moved to the transitional network to be upgraded manually (in real-time), as they rejoin the network. You will need to call the NOC (330-785-2101) to have us initiate this process for your modem. If you have a mobile system, you will be upgraded using the revision server process. Just give us a call, and we will be happy to bring you in.

Once we have verified that the revision server is working as expected, we will begin upgrading customers that were previously moved to the transitional space. As before, we will identify customer remotes that are stable with good numbers, and that have been idle for 10 minutes. We will batch these customers and upgrade them to iDX while moving them back to their permanent space segment. This upgrade process will require a reboot of your modem, again resulting in a brief service interruption (under five minutes).

This process will continue throughout the day on Sunday. While the majority of remotes will be addressed on Sunday, we anticipate that there will be some remotes that will remain on the transitional space into the week of September 12th. These remotes will be addressed individually throughout the week.

Any remote that is not online over the September 9th – 11th weekend will be upgraded manually during the week of September 12th. We will begin contacting customers on Monday the 12th to coordinate times to perform this upgrade. This process will be conducted from the NOC – we only need to coordinate having your system placed online for the upgrade.

As always, we will be broadcasting updates throughout the upgrade on Twitter. We appreciate the trust that you have placed in us, and we know how vital your satellite link is to you. We are taking extraordinary measures to minimize disruption as we position the network for future growth and expansion.

All the best,

-Mike Kister
Skycasters / VSAT Systems

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