Systems Manager’s Annual Report For 2013
2013, like many years in the past, has been another exciting one at LION. We saw the addition of Acton Library to our family as they went live at the end of April. We are currently putting the finishing touches on bringing up Bethany Library and should be finished with that right after the New Year. As soon as that is done we will begin working on Hamden so next year looks to be an exciting, albeit busy one as well. Here is a brief list of things that kept me busy the past year.
I attended the first annual CEN Membership Convention May 10, 2013 which was held at Rentschler Field. It was a very informative meeting. The second annual CEN Membership Convention will be held Thursday May 22, 2014 at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, CT. I encourage everyone to send a representative from your library. It’s the only way to make your voices heard. Tell them you want Fiber instead of these slow DSL connections.
Acton library went live April 30th, 2013. I worked with the CEN to get their DSL connection moved to the LION network. Matt and Justin worked hard to get all their computers moved to the LION network. I set them up with 21 actonlibrary.org e-mail accounts.
I worked with the CEN to move the DSL connection for Bethany Library over to LION on December 4, 2013. A new circ PC has been ordered and should be installed soon. Once they receive their Sierra training they will be all set to go live.
After evaluating several different e-mail server programs, Justin and I installed a new E-Mail Server running Smartermail Software on March 14th, 2013. Smartermail is much more robust e-mail software then our previous one. We recreated over 500 e-mail accounts and then had those users migrate their data. All things considered it was a pretty smooth transition. There is a new release, 12.0, which is in beta testing right now. They plan to release it after the New Year. I will be upgrading to 12.0 after it is released. It has some improvements and new features along with a faster web interface.
I updated the Comcast Cable Modems at 5 LION libraries. The new modems incorporated a new protocol called DOCSIS 3.0 which increased the speed of their connections. The increase ranged from an extra 5Mbps to as much as 15 Mbps depending on how Comcast had configured them in their HQs. This makes for a faster experience for the Public when using the Internet.
2013 saw a big increase in the Illegal Downloads of pirated movies in the LION libraries. I attempted to use Opendns to block access to Torrent sites but it was less than successful. Because of the very nature of torrent technology, it is almost impossible to block Peer 2 Peer downloads. I have been hunting for a solution to this for some time. I recently bit the bullet and bought a pretty advanced Firewall/Router for the most notorious of the offending libraries and so far so good. I tested it thoroughly and was not able to download anything illegal no matter how hard I tried. As the CEN puts faster Fiber into the libraries, it may become necessary to install a firewall in each library to prevent illegal activities such as this.
Yalesville Library underwent a moderate renovation this summer. This involved removing equipment and reinstalling the CEN router, PCs and a new Wireless Router when the renovation was complete.
I installed a new Wireless network at Wallingford this past August. This involved installing a new Wireless Access Point Controller PC and 7 new Access Points. The hardest part was getting their Splash Page to work correctly. I wasn’t able to take their old one and just copy it into the new server. With Justin’s help, I was able to get it installed and working correctly without too much grief.
Of course no year is complete without the countless installs, updates, and repairs of all the PCs LION maintains. This includes printers, receipt printers, and barcode scanners. I helped to setup several new networked copier/scanner/printers this year as well. I spent many hours on the phone with AT&T, the CEN, and Comcast all in support of our network. (The network consists of 23 RLAN DSL Connections, 9 Fiber Connections, 11 Comcast Connections and 1 AT&T DSL Connection) I did quite a bit of updating of router firmware and replacing defective routers this year. There were also quite a few network switches that died this year and needed to be replaced. Never a dull moment at LION.
2014 looks to be another busy year. We have Hamden coming on board along with their 2 branches which makes 3 more buildings to take care of.
The CEN will be replacing network equipment at the Libraries that currently have fiber with newer, faster routers.
I have been working with CEN and NPU to get Otis Library on Fiber which will hopefully happen in the 1st quarter of 2014.
I know of at least one other town which is looking to put their own Fiber in the library and connect it up to the CEN.
The E-Mail Server software will be updated.
I am working with a couple libraries to get Comcast in their libraries.
These are just a few of the things that I know of off the top of my head that are happening in 2014.
The Adventure Continues…..
Richard Widlansky, Systems Manager