AT&T outage cleared

We have received confirmation from the phone company that this weekend’s outage affecting Nevada City area DSL and phone lines has been cleared.

If your DSL service is not yet working, power-cycle your DSL modem (unplug its electrical cord, and once its lights are off, plug it back in).  If that doesn’t fix your problem, give our office a call at (530) 478-9822, Ext. 1 for customer support.

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Update on minor AT&T DSL outage

Some of our DSL customers are still experiencing Internet service that is unavailable. We were told that AT&T was dispatching a repair truck sometime today (Sat July 4) between 4pm and 8pm. This is no guarantee that service will become available again. When the service is eventually turned on, you will need to unplug and re-plug the power cord (and only the power cord) on your modem. If all the lights turn green again, you’re good to go. If not, that means that service is still unavailable. You will want to test this at a later time as AT&T does not notify us when circuits are back up. Because that is how AT&T chooses to communicate, by not doing so at all. Please be patient and, above all, enjoy the 4th of July holiday; being aware that there is a high fire danger.

UPDATE: Based on customer conversations and the geographic distributions of affected customers, it looks like the outage may be related to a fire in the North San Juan area on Thursday night 7/2.  We are hearing reports from affected customers that phone service was restored in various areas either Friday 7/3 or Saturday 7/4 (some say phone service was not interrupted at all), but DSL remains down for all affected.  However, AT&T has identified circuits as far away as the Banner Mountain area as affected by the known outage.

AT&T’s maintenance operations center is closed on Sundays (though their field techs will continue to work on this issue), and so we do not anticipate having any further updates on their repairs until Monday morning.

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Minor AT&T DSL outage

On Friday July 3 during the day,  a number of customers called in with reports of DSL service being unavailable. We determined though our wholesale reseller that indeed there was a minor AT&T DSL outage in parts of western Nevada County. The best thing to do if you don’t have service, is to unplug and re-plug the power cord of your modem. If service has been restored, then all your lights will return to green and you’ll be back on the Internet. If not, you’ll have to try again at a later time. Unfortunately, its not like AT&T calls us with these outages, then tells us when service will be restored. We know this makes your crazy, as it does us. Please be patient, and above all, enjoy the 4th of July holiday. Please drive safely.

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Outbound mail server update

Earlier this year, we identified a spam filtering problem on AT&T’s end causing mail to be rejected when sending to pacbell.net and prodigy.net e-mail addresses (and only to those addresses) from our NCCN.net mail server.

Extensive, multi-month efforts to resolve the problem via AT&T and third-party correspondence were unsuccessful, so we have deployed a new outbound e-mail server.  After testing to make certain that it is not blocked at AT&T’s end (nor elsewhere), we have transitioned to sending all NCCN outbound e-mail through the new server.  This has fixed the spam filtering issue, and also adds additional capacity and redundancy to our email services.

No changes should be necessary to your e-mail settings.  If you are now having trouble sending outbound e-mail for your NCCN.net address, verify that your outbound mail server is smtp.nccn.net.  You can also call us at (530) 478-9822, Ext. 1, to troubleshoot connection problems.

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NCCN.net mail delivery delays

On Tuesday evening, April 28, the server handling mail for NCCN.net developed network issues that prevented new inbound messages from reaching their mailboxes.  Customer access to those mailboxes was not affected, so customers continued to see their existing e-mail but were not receiving anything new.

The problem has been resolved as of 10 AM Wednesday, April 29.  Inbound messages received during that time period were queued in our spam filtering server, and that backlog is being processed for delivery.

No messages should be lost, but it may take several hours to finish processing the backlog. If you were expecting e-mail to arrive during the affected hours and it has not been delivered by 3 PM Wednesday, April 29, give our office a call at (530) 478-9822, Ext. 1 for technical support.

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Web hosting server down

As of noon Monday, April 27, our secondary web hosting server (running about 50 websites) is experiencing problems.  Both email and web access are down.  The server is being taken offline for maintenance, and those problems are being actively addressed.  We will share an ETA for repair once one is known.

UPDATE, 1:35 p.m.: The server is once again running and we are verifying that services have been restored.

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AT&T spam blocking problem

Several of our customers have reported problems sending mail from their nccn.net e-mail addresses to various addresses supported by AT&T.  We’ve identified an issue sending to e-mail ending in the following domains:

pacbell.net
prodigy.net

Other domains hosted by AT&T, such as att.net and sbcglobal.net, are unaffected.

Symptoms

When you send a message, you receive an immediate rejection e-mail back stating that it did not go through, and the diagnostic code provided in that message looks like the following:

<someaddress@pacbell.net>: host al-ip4-mx-vip2.prodigy.net[144.160.235.144] said: 553 5.3.0 alph133 DNSBL:RBL 521< 23.253.230.108
_is_blocked.__For_information_see_http://att.net/blocks (in reply to MAIL FROM command)

Resolution

Unfortunately, the server which handles pacbell.net e-mail has chosen on their end to block messages from our outbound mail server. We have repeatedly notified AT&T of this problem. They have refused to address it and claim that this blocking is not occurring despite the evidence we continue to send them.

At this point if you need to send messages to an email address ending in pacbell.net we have two workarounds to offer:

1) Ask that friend/client for an alternate e-mail address, and send your message to them at that alternate address. No other ISPs are blocking us, and you can send to all addresses except for the ones that AT&T is blocking.

2) Log in to your e-mail account via our website at http://webmail.nccn.net. You can click on “Compose” inside web mail to create a message, and copy and paste the e-mail you want to send into that web screen. Our webmail interface passes through a different server that AT&T is not blocking.

At this time, because the blocking is occurring on their end and the final resolution is in AT&T’s hands, we do not anticipate a fix on any sort of reasonable timeline.  We will continue to pursue further workarounds and alternative long-term solutions.

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Server downtime

Due to the announcement of the so-called GHOST vulnerability, some of Spiral’s web hosting and e-mail services will be temporarily inaccessible tonight as patches are applied to affected servers.  The nature of GHOST requires that servers be halted and rebooted in order to apply the patch.

 

Update, 12:30 a.m. Jan. 28: Due to an unexpected issue with the upgrade on our primary hosting server, a number of our hosted websites suffered approximately a 3-hour outage.  However, the server is now secured and we’ve audited the sites to check for lingering issues.  If there are any problems with your website, please call us at (530) 478-9822, Ext. 1, so we can address it as soon as possible.

We will briefly delay the patch on our secondary hosting server until tomorrow, so we can secure the server without such extensive downtime.

Update, Jan. 29: Our secondary hosting server was patched tonight as well, and no further service downtime is anticipated.

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All systems normal

While recent storms have battered the area and increased AT&T’s response time on telephone line repair (affecting our DSL customers secondhand), all Spiral services are currently up and running at 100% capacity.

We have also completed our migration of services to the cloud, so email and web services are no longer vulnerable to local power outages, and offer significantly better bandwidth and response time (with no increase in cost to our customers).

As always, if you are experiencing problems with your Spiral services, you can give us a call for support at (530) 478-9822, Ext. 1.

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Brief inbound e-mail outage

Tonight’s transition of our inbound e-mail’s spam filtering server to a connection with faster throughput, which was meant to be transparent, ran into an unexpected snag as the server was being redeployed.  For a brief period around 7:00 p.m. Dec. 1, some inbound messages for Spiral’s e-mail customers were rejected by our mail server.

After fixing the error, we instructed the spam filter (which correctly passed the mail through) to redeliver all affected messages.  No mail should be missing.  However, a small number of senders received bounce reports for the messages they sent during that time window (the messages which we later ensured did pass through).

If you have an e-mail address hosted by Spiral and are missing any inbound e-mail from the evening of Dec. 1, or have been informed by a third party that a message did not get through to your nccn.net/spiralemail.com/sierraemail.com address, give our office a call at (530) 478-9822.  We can examine the spam filter’s records of your inbound e-mail and ensure that everything reached you which should have reached you.

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