First things first, I just overheard someone on their phone saying “yeah, I’m in the library”….umm, no your not, your in a computer room, I would know because I’m here. The nearest library is well over 200meters away and in another building across a car-park and small park with water feature….I do wonder at times how some people manage to direct food into their mouths.
Anyway, to the matter in hand. I didn’t have the heart to make this entry yesterday, I was far too sleepy (not that I feel any more awake now, but I do have a 4 hour gap between lectures today).
Yesterday is my day off from Uni, and as such, I go to work. Work for me means run the network of a small primary school.
The network consists of about 30 desktop machines (1 for each classroom, a room with 17 of them in, a library machine and a few in the admin block) it also has around 35 laptops (maybe 10 of these are teacher laptops and are stand alones, the rest are either held by admin staff, or are part of the recent batch we were given which I yet to do anything with bar stack).
Now most of the network machines are on a workgroup based network with a variety of shared drives (soon to be NAS) providing files. The desktops run win98 and RM window box (which is like an attempt at a shell replacement, but RM style, so pants). Yes, I know this is a crap setup, but it has to stay, as these machines are used by children starting at 4years old (and it was like that when I got there). The laptops all run either XP pro or 2000pro bar one machine which I have on fedora core 4 for kicks.
Now yesterday was an inset day so the only people in were staff (and they were doing training in the hall), so I came in as normal to do 3 hours or so. When I entered the building I was informed that one of our switched was down (we have 3, 2 shit ones and one very nice cisco). Well, when I wandered into the store and had a look at my nice cabinet I could not help but notice that all the switches were on and the one in question (a 36 port beast) had a lot of lights on. So after about an hours worth of routing around etc I found, under a desk in the computer room the cable I keep plugged into a spare port (which I had there for when I’m working on laptops (pre wireless network)). When I followed this cable to its other end (which is normally meant to be free) I found some little bugger had plugged it into another spare port. Suffice to say, on of the little buggers had created a loop-back on one of my shit switches. But because it had been done the other side of my patching it had been very hard to trace.
It was at this point I thought “fuck it” and I took apart my whole network (pulled every jack out of every plug in my cabinet and spent 3 hours putting it all back in again). This achieved several things
a) my network was plugged together the way it should have been done had it not been pissed on by several engineers over a period of 3 months which they installed out fibre line and terminators for out internet link.
b) I allowed me to move around a few items in there (about 8U’s worth of kit in the end, just to give it a more logical layout.
c) I managed to have the cables neatly done using the cable management, as apposed to just run everywhere.
If anyone ever considers doing this to their network, don’t! and if you have no choice, do so much work beforehand. I went round with a laptop and drew up an excel spreadsheet of every port in the school, what room it was in, if it was used, what it was normally used for etc. I haven now have which port on which switch each item patches to….
Ok, I think that is enough for now. Although I will add, it did work after I did all this and I even managed to get the right lines going to the right IP phones…..I was so happy, so was reception…