TRIPAWDS: Home to 22818 Members and 2143 Blogs.

Verizon Users: Still Having Trouble?

I’m so excited! After executive escalation of our ongoing issues with Verizon Wireless users being unable to effectively access the Tripawds forums or their blogs, I finally spoke with a “Verizon Solutions Advisor” who actually acknowledged the problem—and better yet, understands the vzw network node packet loss I first identified more than a month ago.

If my last post seemed a bit technical, that was my point. It apparently got the right people interested, and provided enough information to help pinpoint the problem.*

But fear not! This post will quickly and simply explain how you may be able help get this problem fixed, for good.

How To Help Fix Verizon Network Packet Loss for Tripawds Users

If you are a Verizon Wireless customer, and you have trouble loading pages on the Tripawds website, or logging in to your blog, please help us help Verizon Wireless techs fix this issue by doing the following:

  1. Confirm these symptoms when connected to the internet using your Verizon Wireless device:
    1. Visit (Page may load quickly.)
    2. Try navigating to the forums or other pages
    3. Attempt to log in to the forums or your blog
    4. Note any serious delays? Pages take longer than normal to load? If yes, proceed to #2. (If no, thank you for your time.)
  2. Find out your current IP address by visiting one of these sites:
  3. Copy your IP address and send it to us.

Thank you! Your help is greatly appreciated.

Sadly, I understand that the Verizon Wireless customers this may affect most, might not be able to even read this. Or they may have given up on visiting the Tripawds community weeks ago. Please pass along this information to any members you may know who might have had trouble.

But this can’t be just us! My discussion with our Solutions Advisor confirmed that it isn’t only traffic to our server’s IP address that is getting dropped. It is clearly a block of addresses which means there are certainly other users and/or servers being affected. If you found this post in a desperate attempt to find a resolution, please complete the steps above AND include the IP address of the server you are/were trying to reach, and its physical location, if known.

*And Now for a Bit More Technical Info…

I was right: My mtr reports, ping results, and other network analysis proved that packets are indeed being dropped at a specific node on the Verizon Wireless network. So much for all those “support” reps insisting it was a “problem with the site” for the past six weeks.

I was wrong: The data loss is not being caused by intentional ICMP Rate throttling as I first presumed. So I guess I can’t cry “Net Neutrality!” as I was about to start doing.

During my initial research after identifying the packet loss, I looked into how to diagnose network issues with mtr. When analyzing My Traceroute reports, I discovered the cause could be one of two things:

ICMP Rate limiting — Throttling is a common practice by network providers used to reduce traffic congestion which prioritizes “more important” traffic.

A Misconfigured ISP Router — If a router on the route packets take is incorrectly configured your packets may never reach their destination.

It was our Data Center who first suggested the ICMP throttling. And silly me, I expected Tier 1 Networks like Level3 and Verizon to ensure their equipment handles all traffic effectively. Our Solutions Advisor reassures me that “this isn’t even throttling,” instead telling me that, “something is broken.”

Finally! 🙄

What Now?

Unfortunately, these things are complicated and may take time to resolve. To complicate matters further, even all of the data passed to every server at our data center could be considered a spec in the universe of internet traffic Level3 delivers. It’s not like we’re Comcast with hundreds of thousands of users complaining because they can’t watch the last episode of Mad Men.

We are but a few thousand users with a couple hundred blogs, about three legged cats and dogs.

I’m not getting my hopes up too high, yet. But at least I have someone who has promised to get to the bottom of this.

One more thing…

I  just want to scream at all those support reps who insisted our “site is broken” on so may calls over the past month, I Told You! I know that won’t do any good, but it feels good knowing all of my efforts to escalate this issue have finally resulted in reaching someone who understands.

Before hearing from the Advisor, we finally resorted to purchasing another mobile hotspot device to confirm my theory about the problem being with the network, and not the site, nor the server. Yesterday morning I was totally ready to start asking Verizon Wireless to explain this…

verizon packet loss network comparison

Let’s hope we don’t have to go there, ever again. Please send us you IP address if you have been affected and use the social network buttons below to share this so we can hopefully reach anyone else experiencing the support nightmare I have been living for weeks now.

Please stay tuned for updates, or post in the this forum topic if you care to discuss further!

UPDATE: May 10, 2015

We believe this issue has finally been resolved. Read this post for details.

Welcome to Aspen.

Monotone Rocky Mountain Colorado Aspen Grove by ReneThat’s the name of our new server here at Tripawds. The name is really more appropriate for Jerry’s three legged dog blog community, along with our snowbird blog and other sites. And from the first feedback, performance kicks ass over Elm. That was the name of our first server we upgraded to a couple years ago.

“Holy cow…. it’s so fast I’m getting dizzy.”
— krun15

— cometdog

Remember? We had that 2010 fundraising campaign to help cover the expense of hosting our own web server to meet the demands of our growing membership. With more than 3379 members, 848 blogs, and 73280 forum posts, and counting, the Tripawds community continues to grow daily.

With increased traffic and use of a popular WordPress multisite network like Tripawds, comes the need to address server load capacity and bandwidth limitations. With that comes added expense. But first, the specs.

WordPress Multisite Server hardware requirements

WordPress network administrators and anyone considering building a niche blog network might want need to know what to expect regarding hardware if any sort of growth is expected. Our new box, in a nutshell:

  • Xeon 3450 with Hyper Threading
  • Server runs with 8 cores
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 2 TB Bandwidth2 250 GB Hard Drives
  • Cent OS 5 x 64 Bit
  • cPanel Unlimited Domains
  • On Call Server Management

We bit the bullet to outfit this system, but we want only the best for our members. And we don’t want to do this again anytime soon. We chose this system over a Core 2 Duo 8400 with 8 GB of RAM since CPU speed/power is generally more important in processor heavy sites and RAM can be increased if needed. Elm was a Pentium 4 with 2 single core processors and 2 GB RAM. It served us well over the past couple years, but recent sporadic spiraling server loads necessitated this upgrade.

Having a server manager is highly recommended for this type of job. That, or some serious command line confidence. While DNS propagation took a bit longer than expected, the actual migration went pretty smooth thanks to the hard work of our guys at Morse Media. And thank you to those Tripawds members who helped us iron out a few kinks.

What does this mean for Tripawds?

If you’ve ever had a comment not save when posting in the forums, or visited the site only to find it wouldn’t load, this upgrade is for you. Say goodbye to database connection errors, and feel free to join us in the chat with all of your friends. This upgrade means you are part of the largest online community for three legged dogs, and it will always be here for you.

Tripawds is a user-supported community.
Please do what you can to help keep it online.

It also means we did it without holding another fundraising campaign! With any luck, and a little support from members like you, we won’t need to raise funds this year either. Soon you will be hearing more about a certain Tripawds member who helped make this server migration possible. Others continue to give on a regular basis. Some of you quite generously. You know who you are, and we can’t thank you enough.

In the mean time, chat away and post in the forums to your hearts content. Publish blog posts, upload photos, search for answers, share your videos and do what you can to show your support for this site by shopping online and spreading the word about the Tripawds Featured Blogs. Together, we shall continue to show the world Tripawds Rule!

PS: We couldn’t do any of this without our WPMU Dev membership either, for the best WordPress multisite plugins, themes and support!

WPMU DEV - The WordPress Experts

Jim & Rene aka Admin and JerryPPS: The quicker Rene and I can grow our team of home-based marketing executives, the sooner we will never have to ask for money to help keep Tripawds online, ever again. Please contact us directly for information about supplementing or replacing your income while working from anywhere.

Behind the Scenes is brought to you by Tripawds.