I write this to remind us admins of the little things that sometimes cause us big headaches and the importance of monitoring which is very easy to neglect.
While I was onsite last month visiting a BWC member institution, the network admin happened to log into his router and saw one of his local interfaces receiving up to 40Mbps traffic. This is a network that rarely gets 10Mbps on that interface. On closer inspection using the Torch feature of the Mikrotik RouterOS, we found that a handful of local computers were sending unusual broadcast traffic painted to look like netbios and DHCP. As first-aid, we filtered the offensive ports and the impact on the router subsided... only to resurrect on different ports a few minutes later.
Although the attacking entities could change ports, they continued to originate as broadcast traffic so that was one common denominator. You can't just block all broadcast traffic, can you? If you do, true DHCP, Netbios and all other traffic that relies on broadcast announcements wouldn't work. With managed switches however, you can limit the percentage of broadcast traffic that each port can send.
As a better fix, we added broadcast rate limits on all the switches (Cisco and HP) within the campus that allowed us to do so. Yes, one more reason why you should have managed switches. The good news now is that for those institutions that consider themselves financially challenged, you can get Managed 5-port Gigabit switches for less than N20,000. You can be creative and use these on building-to-building links within your network so you can easily isolate/contain segments with anomalies. The ones running Mikrotik SwOS include broadcast-limiting as well as a number of other high end features.
Traffic spewing worms are very common with pirated Windows systems that do not have up to date patches. For those who may not understand the impact of a few unpatched MS Windows computers with worms, consider this:
You have a 24-port switch each with a 100Mbps port. Computers on a number of ports start spewing out traffic at the speed of their network cards. Because it is a directed broadcast, they are sending say 10Mbps to every other computer in the same subnet. All of a sudden, the switch finds itself handling 10Mbps times the number of computers in the subnet. If the switch does not die while processing this spurious traffic, it passes it on to the gateway which presumably has at least one leg in the problematic subnet. If your router is not well configured, it wastes CPU cycles handling the rubbish. I also think routing your networks will help reduce the impacts of directed broadcasts though some people say the overhead of multiple routers is a disadvantage.
In the final analysis, monitoring is good and long term monitoring is even better. Without traffic utilization graphs, nobody would have noticed that Internet bandwidth was not being utilized to the maximum. Without interface monitoring tools, we wouldn't have known which interface to investigate further. Without network segmentation, the building in question wouldn't have been located quickly.
However, without looking into your network often enough, you might not be able to tell the difference between the "normal" and the "abnormal". A step further would be to collect long term data from netflow or traffic-flow capable devices for better visibility into what's going on within your network. Think nfsen, cacti and company. Free and easy to install (sometimes even as virtual machine appliances for the busy/lazy/smart)
Intelligent Building – How ready are you?
The objective in intelligent building is to maximize energy efficiency and to enhance work performance by combining environmental system technologies.
The intelligent building takes energy management system a step further. The purpose is not just to control energy consumption but also to operate the other systems in the building in the most efficient way.
Imagine when a home tells you the garage door is not shut. When a house tells you the light in the baby’s room is left on. Or when the house shuts the windows and power up the air conditioners because it senses you inside and also senses the temperature indoor will make sweat.
The list goes on and on. How ready are you to invest in such a structure?
Conveniences are known to dominate the automobiles and aircraft industry only. These are temporary accommodation for human comfort. Imagine setting out on a journey of about three hours in a very comfortable vehicle. In reaching your destination leaving the keyless car entry to enter your apartment you have to fiddle with the key to unlock the entrance. Fiddling with a switch to lit the room and a fan regulator to provide air and then switched on the air conditioner. How long will it take you to settle in? All the comfort you had enjoyed enroute will be wasted before you pick up again.
What does a building need to be intelligent? Several factors are required to enhance your building to make it intelligent these include:
Power back up system. Not only having a stand-by generator but having a fully back-up of average requirement to last through the rainy day. This is achieved by the use of inverter and battery banks to store energy.
Embedded solar installation. This is done to be part of the structure either of roof, windows and walls. The solar panels are mounted to fit into the structure.
Structured Cabling. This is considered during the initial design embedded during the construction to contain features such as; Network system, Detectors and Fire alarm systems.
The need to have a building intelligently cannot be over emphasized. The security system having couples of camera and monitors with switches to activate alarm in the case of break in. The sense to monitor fire/smoke in a volatile area. Economic saving in energy consumption as the system shut the use of it as you exit, thus saving utility bills.
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Kashim ibrahim library
Ahmadu Bello University
The INEC’S DDC Machines – their limited use in the 2011election.
Being under the shadow of networks for a while now , I have come to terms with the progressively changing technology of computers and their networks.
The possibility of having a perfect election in the country for the 2011 was clearly the vision of INEC. This, of course was at their finger tips with these machines in use.
The decision of the government to acquire this technology and put it to use was to completely eliminate the fallacies of elections at all levels.
Computers and networks are required to handle these operations with the trained personnel having them on their laps. The operations solely rely on waves and power.
Firstly, the technology of the computer is beyond the limit of INEC’s operations to exhaust. These computers can even do more. It all depends on what we want them to do.
With what the government concur, to play with the dummies, the finger prints, image capture and data which are the key elements required during the registrations all powers were within the finger tips of the operators. These data once captured remain within the system for its own consumption only unless we use the waves and signals to extract them out either in print or stored in magnetic form.
Secondly, the network aspect of the technology is the medium that shares these resources among the dummies and other locations. It goes beyond the eyes, it is either in waves, light or metal (copper) it’s the wedding ring of computers.
Finger prints which have a probability of one in a million being the same is a major item field required for specicificity. In Nigeria, we have an average of 120- people having the same finger prints. Then comes the picture, this is prone to duplication with twins, kins. The probability of having a duplicate is high. Lastly, could the data/information such as name, age, telephone no etc all be wrong or untraceable?
The computers and other networks equipment are the hard wares that are physically visible to perform these jobs. To use this equipment, software is required to communicate between them. This side of the ddc machines is as important as the other. As the banks have succeeded in centralizing their operations with added limitations so also these machines could be made to follow suit. The software must have the ability to sort the data with accuracy how ever much it is to create very useful information in a millisecond. This ability of the software is far beyond what human calculation could handle.
The INEC registration machines must have come with this software and that was why the registration was a success. Unfortunately the software failed to attend to the issues of multiple registrations and duplicate data entry. This should be the character of each machine. It was as a result of this failure we had people registering in multiple places. These multiple registrations, for some were not deliberate but as result of a system failure during the initial registration. A case so many was when patrons registered and the personnel came back the next day and claimed the system has crashed therefore people must re register. Such cases came out with multiple registrations as the system failed to sort out the duplications.
What was expected from these machines was a similar enquiry and response we do get when registering the yahoomail or gmail address. In such instance the system must be connected to the inter-net. As we register it sifts through it if such a name or data had ever been entered. It then came out with an option. This was because the data provided by us was once entered by someone else. Therefore we have a different identity. The ddc machines could have done more owing to inclusion of finger-print and image.
Another failure of the INEC machines is the lack of wide Area networks for the wards and local government polls, metropolitan Area network for the states polls or the internet for the online one time national polls.
How best to use the ddc machines during elections:
(With everything being equal) having a good working machine with a well programmed software and an excellent network the hope of having a perfect election is at our finger-tips. If all the above conditions are satisfied, and the registration was conducted successfully with all data edited and sorted out all we will require is the fingertips recognition inter face and touch screen to make a perfect election.
Once you place your finger it simply recognizes you and displays a screen of ballot boxes. You then place the other finger tip and select the party of choice. As you release the first finger the screen disappears and waits for the next person. This operation takes barely two minutes.
The authenticity of this is that it can’t be manipulated and two people can’t vote at a time and one person cannot vote twice.
If all these are done, the next and subsequent elections in the country by a determined INEC to have a free, fair, credible and honest election will be hailed not only in Nigeria but world wide for a well handled election.
Umar Uba 2011
This voluntary report is a summary of my observations and the outcome of a meeting of Nigerians that participated in the Euro-Africa week in Helsinki. My attendance was influenced by the year I spent as a programme officer in the Nigeria ICT Forum of Partnership Institutions, Abuja and the exposure to efforts seeking to establish the Nigerian Research and Education Network.
I found the activities of the week very enlightening and I hope to share some of what I have learned to foster these efforts even if indirectly.
A committee has been formed to organize ICT matters more efficiently in the Nigerian Universities. It was formed in a World Bank/STEP-B sponsored, NUC hosted meeting for Directors of ICT in Nigerian Universities held yesterday.
The communique will no doubt be circulated by the committee shortly but attached presentation may be of interest to some as it updates on the World Bank supported initiative to contribute to the development of the Nigerian Research and Education Network .
With this, progress with Eko-Konnect - http://www.eko-konnect.org.ng and the BB4NG stakeholders meeting in July - http://www.forum.org.ng/BB4NG, it appears that the lull in the pursuit of broadband connectivity in the community is coming to an end.
ML4D: Mobile Learning for Development. A participatory design workshop for educators
The workshop was very ably led by the facilitators, Dr Niall Winters and Yishay Mor of the London Knowledge Lab. The workshop, run on a participatory basis, exposed participants to the design and prototyping process for mobile learning applications. Participants worked in groups on the design of mobile learning solutions for three separate scenarios.
The workshop was very interesting and informative for several reasons: participants actually participated in the specification and design of some mobile learning applications; actual mobile learning systems based on some freely available tools were discussed; and there was a rich interchange of ideas among participant in the design process. Finally, participants were led to see the possibilities that exist even with the tools and facilities that are currently available to us. Participants were left with the challenge to push forward with the design and prototyping process that started at the workshop.
The importance of the workshop lay in the fact that it highlighted the need for us to fashion out new ways to effectively prosecute the tasks of teaching and learning in our institutions, given the constraints of large student populations and inadequate facilities that we are faced with. The popularity of mobile devices suggests that the mobile learning route might be an attractive one to explore.
Many thanks go to the organizers and co-sponsors, Datasphir Solutions Ltd., for coming up with such a challenging and educative workshop; they are to be commended for their foresight and the excellent way in which the workshop was conducted. The facilitators are also to be commended for the mature and stimulating manner they led the workshop. We hope that, with the participants doing their homework on the designs, a follow-up workshop can be organized to take t he work forward.
For more on the workshop, see http://www.ml4d.org/events/wksp1
Thanks to the Facilitators of 2009 ngNOG workshop especially Track II (NETWORK INFRASTRUCTURE CLASS) and to my Director (ICT) for sending me for such a workshop.
1. Implementing the bandwith monitoring techniques on the network devices has really help.
so far the following have been very effective.
- packet sniffer
2. I have done A step down on the training received on the interns and Master apperntices of the department i work. below are some pictures to show
Update - November 2009. “Towards an e-learning model for Nigerian HEIs. Lessons from the ICT Maths InitiativeSubmitted by Len.forum on Tue, 2009-12-01 04:05.
The ICT math team has developed a model for e-learning in Nigerian Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). It was presented at an ICT conference, held at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife in September 2009.
At this conference, the University of Jos had a presentation on the “Towards an e-learning model for Nigerian HEIs. Lessons from the ICT Maths Initiative”. The ICT Maths team was also given an entire plenary session to make presentations on “Preparing Nigerians for better communication with the Global Academic Community”. The latter special presentation was very well received. It was the only presentation in the entire conference that was given a standing ovation.
Several institutions including OAU Ife, Bells University, Covenant University, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi, and Federal University of Technology, Minna, indicated interest to partner with UniJos on implementing the Jos model.
Several participants suggested that the National Universities Commission, National Commission for Colleges of Education and similar bodies should be approached to adopt the model nationally.
The ICT mathematics team is pleased to share the paper and a power point presentation on the model. The presentation on the model was again made at the Ilorin ngNOG 2009 event in November 2009.
We shall continue to update you on progress with the initiative.
Welcome back from the just concluded ngNOG 2009 @ the university of Ilorin. It was nice meeting most of you for the first time. I believe the interactions between participants and instructors/recource persons and organisers has greatly impacted our lives positively and that we will put to practice what we learnt in our various tracks.
We at the Forum Secretariat will welcome ideas/contributions that will help us in planning for future ngNOG events.
We wish you success in your endeavours and expect to see @ the next ngNOG.
Am safely at home now after one among the most interested training ever. I will want to use this concourse to authenticate my genuine appreciation to all those that are in one way or the other a contributory factor to the sensation and implementation of this well planned training. I particularly want to register and acknowledge the following, secretariat (Wale, Rashida, Rhoda and others) of the ngNOG, my VC for allowing me go for the training, My ICT Director, LOC, VC Uni-Ilorin, Uni-Ilorin community, my special instructor (Sharks, Chris and christy) and other instructors, my track mates, interns, drivers, cooks not to forget my one and only special room mate (VICTOR I. THE MOST POPULAR PARTICIPANT WHICH HIS CHARACTER BECAME TRACK10 OF THE TRAINING WITH EVERY BODY AS MEMBER OF THAT TRACK. To those i could not get their numbers before going am sorry my number is 07039493722 firstname.lastname@example.org lapipee@gmail. My instructors should expect as much as hundred and one calls from me any time. To the secretariat again am waiting for another version of the training next year as i exploit and consume the knowledge that i gain.
On the other side it will be wise if Nigeria government will carefully monitor and get involve in Nigeria ICT forum as an avenue which will help them in good policy making and implementation.
On the buoyant and jovial side, Uncle FS you are too much but be careful not to kill someone with your bunch of hilarity and mirth. Once in a while it cross my mind that why are not with (basket mouth, AY, I go die etc) in nite of thousand laugh rather than ICT world?
Goshwe Lapshak Yilwatda
We have succeded in having a paper-less office. unfortunately we fail to exempt our rooms from hanging and flying cables. what a compromise! many center's core rooms are wired only with the basic systems in mind and most often than not those who made the wiring had no idea how/for what those rooms are to be used for. These call for a need to standardize the scenery of these rooms.
There are several auxillary equipment that arrived these rooms after construction/renovation. what are actually required to be wired? these includes the rack (depends on either the wall mount or the self standing type). The electrical sockets/patress and data faceplate. The air conditioners and other ventilation systems.These rooms are bored crudely just to have access for the electrical/generator/uplink cables into the room.
what do we need to create a wireless-wired room?
First we must consider all the primary equipment and possibly of supporting newer. Secondly, we shop for the materials to use. The primary of them being the PVC trunk or cable ducts. Then, the installation.
Two horizontal rows of trunk are enough to clear the trip wires.These could be anywhere between the lower part of the window and the floor. The lower row being for data path the vsat /uplink etc. These must be bored behind the trunk using a drill machine. The higher row will be for the power. This will require a horizontal rise for lighting, air-conditioners and to the racks.With this arrangement the table arrangements and bigger equipment will follow.
in this perspective the only cable likely to be visible are power to the laptop (optional), usb/keyboard/mouse from back of the system.
A separate smaller room be provided for keeping the portable generator and battery bank.
I just heard of the unfortunate incidence that happen at office i sicerely sympathise with the affected staff and pray that culprit will be exposed to justice. long live NgNog.
A technology for teaching initative of the mathematics department of the University of Jos.
It is funded by an HP Technology for Teaching Grant and a Nigerian Government, World Bank supported project, in partnership with the University of Jos.
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