MTU Size for Comcast with Vocalocity VoIP Service

While working with Comcast tech support on Internet issues at a client’s site we were told to change the MTU size on the WAN interface of the client’s firewall to 1492. Comcast engineer claimed this setting will provide for fewer VoIP voice-quality issues with Comcast Internet services.

I thought I’d pass the information along to those who may be experiencing voice-quality issues with Internet-hosted VoIP services and have Comcast as their Internet Service Provider.

Facts:
ISP: Comcast Business
Hosted VoIP Provider: Vocalocity / Vonage Business Solutions
Firewall: SonicWALL TZ200

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Cheers

Windows Server 2012 Domain Controller & RemoteApps, No More

I recently migrated a client from Windows Server 2003 to 2012. Knowing what I know about Windows Server 2008 RDS and RemoteApps I thought I’d take the same approach. Microsoft has made many improvements to Remote Desktop Services in Windows 2012 but with that, I soon discovered, they dropped the ability to host RemoteApps in environments with single server running Active Directory Domain Services Role.

Basically, small business organizations with single server wanting to take advantage of Active Directory authentication and RemoteApps are out of luck.

Though, all is not lost. If you forgo RemoteApps you may install Remote Desktop Licensing and Remote Desktop Session Host roles on a Domain Controller, which will allow you to provide Remote Desktop Services in the environment, minus RemoteApps.

So if you find yourself in my situation check-out the following Microsoft KB article on how to deploy Windows Server 2012 RDS on servers running Active Directory Domain Services http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2833839

Cheers!

Managed IT Services

I am writing this article with the business executive in mind.

Say you are a stake holder in a business operation that employees 40-50 computers and a handful of servers. At this point you have a full-time IT person on staff. That person is most likely expected to perform managerial duties as well as hands-on day-to-day activities such as user support, PC repair/replacement, server and network management, backup monitoring, etc.

WOW! Superman does exist! Truth be told, I do not envy that IT employee of yours, because there are not enough hours in the day to be able to handle that kind of workload. Let alone keep up with technology developments and trends. From an IT perspective, your IT manager is doomed. They will slowly fall behind the technology curve and fade away, or quit – whichever comes first. Under the circumstances there are two scenarios I could think of:

1. There are issues with your IT infrastructure (e.g. email unavailability, file access issues, printing, PC performance problems, etc.). You have received complaints from your staff about that. You have experienced some of them yourself. You have talked to your IT manager, but solution is still not available and they always give you long-winded answers, but that’s not helping you much. You feel frustrated.

2. Your IT manager is talking about all these issues and how he/she needs to invest into this and that to resolve the on-going problems. Perhaps he/she is hinting at the need to hire an additional individual to handle the extra work load, but you are not ready to make that commitment yet.

Under any of the above scenarios, you are sitting on a time-bomb. You are one problem away from a major disaster that claims your data, intellectual property, your clients’ personally identifiable information, or dare I say your business. The fact it hasn’t happened yet makes you a very lucky individual. You should play the lotto more often.

I’d like to offer you some food for thought.

While known under many different names, we call it Managed IT Solutions.

Managed IT Solutions are a combination of services,  technology, and expertise blended specifically with the Small Business in mind. In this example (40-50 computer users) your organization is large enough to have a dedicated IT person on staff, but in reality that’s nowhere near enough to maintain, let alone improve your IT infrastructure so that your computer users are efficient and productive at all times. The other problem is that your IT manager is not able to function in a strategic capacity, because they are stuck in a fire-fighting mode. Without anyone assisting you in resolving business problems through technology you are in a technological time-warp. Whether you’ll agree with me or not, you are wasting money.

Let’s face it, hiring another individual is an expensive commitment. Not to mention that if you are not bullish about your businesses’ future, it may not make a lot of sense to go through the expensive hiring process, just to let someone go after a few months.

However, letting your business fall behind the technological curve means your IT environment is affecting your employees’ productivity. Your disaster recovery preparedness and your efficiencies have gone down the tubes. All of that is already costing you real money and could compromise your business’ very existence.

The solution is with Managed IT Services. When properly designed and implemented, Managed IT Services will provide you with day-to-day IT support for the fraction of what you’d pay to hire a second IT employee. Your IT manager will be freed-up to assist you in resolving business problems, rather than fight low-level IT fires. Outsourcing some of your IT needs will allow your IT manager to remain in control of your strategic IT planning, however, they will have a team of highly trained professionals on their side, handling your critical IT infrastructure and assisting in the decision making process. Did I mention for a fraction of the cost of hiring another individual?

Managed IT Solutions work great even in smaller organizations without full-time IT staff.

Whether you are a business executive or an IT executive, I encourage you to give us a call. You have nothing to lose. Visit us at www.konkotech.com for additional details and contact information.

Regards,
Konstantin

How to Forcibly Remove DHCP Failover Partner in Windows Server 2012

Hello folks,

Ivailo here to talk about the new DHCP failover feature in Windows Server 2012. A real failover is finally possible. Split scopes are things of the past. Now it’s possible to configure DHCP partners in “Hot Standby” and “Load Balance” mode. Configuring DHCP failover is outside of the scope of this blog.

I would like to show you haw to forcibly remove a failed failover partner. I recently had to do this for a customer. The primary DHCP server was for some reason configured with invalid IP address (169.254.84.126) as a partner. That was not my install so I don’t have an explanation as to how this happened. In order to remove a partner in the DHCP manager the two servers have to be able to talk to each other. If one of the servers is unavailable the removal will fail. The following command can be used to force the removal of the partner:

Remove-DhcpServerv4Failover -ComputerName <server name> -Name <name of the failover partnership> -force

 

Ivailo Mitkov

How to configure an authoritative time server in Windows Server 2012

Hello folks,

Ivailo here to talk about setting up an NTP on a PDCe. Remember this http://support.microsoft.com/kb/816042?wa=wsignin1.0? The MS tool on the page used to work like a charm. Unfortunately even though according to the “Applies to” it should work on Windows Server 2012 – it doesn’t. Of course one can follow the instructions how to configure NTP manually but I am doing this way too often for my customers so I decided to save few minutes the next time I need to configure NTP on a PDCe. This is why I created the following registry hack that can be applied simply by double clicking on it. Of course you can also apply the settings using the following command…

w32tm /config /syncfromflags:manual /manualpeerlist:”<Server1>,0x1 <Server2>,0x1 <Server3>,0x1″ /update /reliable:yes

…but it will only change the AnnounceFlags, Type, and the source and leave all intervals intact which is not a best practice.

Copy the text bellow including “Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00” and paste in your favorite text editor (notepad will work)! Change the time sources depending on the server physical location (in my case US). Append 0x1 to each server and separate multiple servers with space! Save the file (for example NTPConfiguration.reg)!

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\W32Time\Config]
“MaxNegPhaseCorrection”=dword:00000e10
“MaxPosPhaseCorrection”=dword:00000e10
“AnnounceFlags”=dword:00000005

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\W32Time\Parameters]
“NtpServer”=”0.us.pool.ntp.org,0x1 1.us.pool.ntp.org,0x1 2.us.pool.ntp.org,0x1 3.us.pool.ntp.org,0x1″
“Type”=”NTP”

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\W32Time\TimeProviders\NtpClient]
“SpecialPollInterval”=dword:00000384

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\W32Time\TimeProviders\NtpServer]
“Enabled”=dword:00000001

 

Restart the time service:

net stop w32time && net start w32time

 

Ivailo Mitkov