Did you know? – Google Drive Enhanced Platform

In our managed support relationships with clients, we often find the need to provide clients with the ability to work on their documents, anywhere. Consequently, we go through great effort to provide remote access to local file servers. Recently, Google started unrolling an enhanced variation on their Google Docs platform, called Google Drive. If you are familiar with Google Docs, you’ll recall that you could upload limited document types, such as Excel, Doc, Pdf files and share them with groups or individuals. You could also set permissions and privileges by user. With this capability, collaboration took a bold step forward, allowing users to work on the same Excel document, at the same time, in real time. If I change a cell, my peers would see the changes immediately on their browser.

Well Google took this feature to the next level, by extending the ability to upload any document type. In fact, they let you upload almost anything, and have it accessible anywhere that you can open your email. This bold new product is called Google Drive. You can us it in a couple of ways. You can install an app on your computer, that looks just like a folder on your desktop. that new folder will then synchronize anything that you put into it up to your personal cloud folder. if you go someplace and find that you need something from that folder, you simply open your email, click on the ‘drive’ link at the top, and download whatever you need, or if you want to be able to use your files at home, you install the same Google drive app on your computer at home, and all of a sudden, your Google drive files are synchronized. change a file at home, and it’s upload to the cloud, and synchronized to your work computer. Eliminate the need for remote access, and all the cumbersome elements forever. Use it as a backup for your pictures, or anything of value that you never want to loose. Furthermore, you can share any one given file with anyone. some company domains may want to restrict this ability. for example, if your company hosts email with Google apps, you can restrict the ability of staff to share fires to only other individuals in the company. Outside email addresses would not be allowed to receive invitations to view or edit files on your Google drive.

Give it a try today, or call us to learn how we can migrate your corporate email to Google apps today.

A likely problem in any multi-tenant network.

In any local area network, there is generally one and only one DHCP server. Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) is a network protocol that enables a server to automatically assign a unique IP address to any local network computer from a defined range of numbers (i.e., a scope or subnet) configured for a given network.

For example, when a computer is started on a local area network, the router typically acting as DHCP server, gives the newly started computer a unique ip address so it can access other network resources, and the internet as well. If you introduce a second DHCP server on a network, you wreak havoc on all computers trying get and ip address so they can access the network. With multiple DHCP servers, varying computers get various ip addresses, generally in unrelated subnets. Some computers will get a 192.168.1.X ip and other will get a 192.168.2.X, while others get 10.1.10.X, etc, etc. Each machine will get an ip based on the DHCP server that responds fastest. However, there is always one and only one gateway, and if your computers are on different subnets, they will never access the one and only gateway. The gateway brokers all network traffic.

We have a residential client that provides shared internet access to each tenant in a multi-tenant facility. Two of the tenants moving in, decided to add their own router to the network in order to provide for themselves wireless internet access to all the computers in their unit. the problem is that they connected the wrong network interface of their routers to the building network connection. This created multiple DHCP servers on the same network. So, when some residents many floors away went to access the internet, they were greeted with a page not found, only because some DHCP server had assigned an incorrect IP number (outside the range of their primary gateway).

We were notified that the internet was down, however, our internet monitoring software showed that the internet was up. We saw no problem with the internet connection. Our monitoring servers would have notified us notified us of the slightest outage. further investigation revealed that when we unplugged the main network switch from the internet router, we were being assigned an ip. That should never happen. Voila! A rogue DHCP server! Now, we just had to identify which of the 50 different units was the location of the rogue router. We isolated one of the router by trial and error, unplugging various connections, until ping response to the culprit ip failed. however, upon further diagnosis, we found a second rogue router. So now we had a DHCP router on 192.168.0.X and another on 192.168.2.X while the primary network was on 10.1.10.X!

At this point, we configured a diagnosis machine internal to their LAN with ip aliases on each subnet. We then accessed the router config page for the router config page to disable DHCP and disable WIFI access on that subnet. We then did the same for 192.168.2.X, and “presto chango”, we finally had access to the true subnet of 10.1.10.X. We had each of the tenants reboot their computers, and access points, and their internet connectivity was restored.

We then notified all the tenants that connectivity was restored with the exception of two tenants. Once the two offending tenants contacted us, we re-configured their routers, re-enabled their wifi and saved the day.

The beauty of all this was that we managed to do it while 60 miles away from our office. Other than the initial plugging and unplugging data jacks, we were able to accomplish the balance of the diagnosis remotely.