Using My Four Years of IT Skills to Show FLOW Jamaica who’s Boss

 

Context

I work in IT as a Research and Development Engineer. I started with a focus on Networking but I wanted a broader scope. My skills are heavily focused on looking at problems and researching the best solutions for those problems.

Like many Jamaicans in the pandemic, I’ve been working from home. I depend on my ISP to provide me with a reliable Internet connection so I can get my job done and keep my productivity levels high.

However, I don’t think FLOW Jamaica cares much for my productivity as countless calls to their customer support team has resulted in no improvement in my (and this is being generous) spotty Internet connection.

 

Well, I’m not going to cry about it

I’m a man of action and I see this as an opportunity to flex my IT muscles outside of work. What I’ll be doing is collecting data on my Internet availability using a Network Monitoring Tool by the name of Zabbix.

This tool will run from my ultra-reliable AWS EC2 instance for a month and at the end of that month, I’ll have data on how often my Internet cut out and the percentage availability that I had for that period of time.

This will give me some hard numbers on just how many outages I’m actually experiencing, and (hopefully) FLOW will see this and up their game.

With that said, let’s get into it.

How it’ll work (yay diagrams)

Diagram showing key components in the network monitoring solution
This diagram includes the major components of the solution I’ve come up with. The numbering isn’t completely accurate for the sequence of events in real-time but it’s a solid logical breakdown of what’s happening.

 

Finished product

After configuring the Zabbix server to monitor my Internet Availability, this is the interface I’ve set up. You can actually check this out yourself if you’re reading this within a month of the post being made by clicking on this link.

A screen cap of the network monitoring interface
This is the dashboard of the network monitoring interface. From a quick view, I can see if my Internet connection is up, as well as any outages in the previous 12 hours. If I scroll down a little I can see a record of all my Internet outages.

Dissecting the data after one month

From April 13, 2021 to May 13, 2021 I had….81 Internet outages. That’s right, my AWS server lost connection with my home router 81 times. Most of those outages were for 2-3 minutes at a time but I’d have them multiple times in the day. Needless to say, that was disastrous for my productivity. A few times it would be gone for over an hour.

A screenshot of some of the outages that I experienced.
Take keen notice of how there are multiple outages in the day, sometimes in quick succession of each other.

You can also peruse this data to your heart’s content via this CSV

Key Takeaways

Uhhh, FLOW sucks. That’s pretty much it. For the past week, I haven’t had any Internet connectivity disruptions but that could change at the drop of a hat.

This was a lot of fun to do because I like looking at data and it’s fun to orchestrate “complex” IT infrastructure (AWS EC2 instances, DDNS services, Apache webservers, etc) for silly projects like this.

Thanks for reading this all the way through and I hope you found it at least a little entertaining.

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