All the networking equipment goes in the attic



  • I'm at a small ISP in a small town these days. One of my local customers is a local office of a large corporation.

    A local builder with a pretty good reputation built them a new office in town and they are in the process of moving in. Last Saturday, we went over to set up their internet connection and I was horrified to see that it was in the attic. I thought that was pretty stupid. But I was told that that was like it was specified in the blue prints.

    The customer is now moving in and isn't happy about that. The builder was arguing that they should just use it like he built it and that they would like it. The customer didn't think that was likely to be true.

    After some argument, he is going to move it all down to the janitor's closet on Saturday and that he will build a shelf for their networking equipment. That's far from ideal, but at least it isn't going to be in the attic.

    I was puzzled by what was in the attic. I found two ethernet cables terminated in the attic, but I could only find one ethernet wall outlet in the entire building. It turns out that what I thought were some wall outlet covers sitting on the floor in the middle of every room are actually the outlets. Some of the electricity, telephone, and ethernet all come into the room in the middle of the floor. There are other electrical outlets on the walls, too, but no ethernet or telephone outlets. That's okay, people have done that for years, but the outlet covers are all the cheap plastic covers meant for the walls, not on a floor. I wonder how many they will break the first week with furniture. As for only two ethernet cables, they apparently ran the ethernet cables and then put the insulation on top of them. I have no idea where the ethernet cables are under the insulation.

    The builder didn't like it when I told him that if an employee of mine okayed putting the networking equipment in the attic, I would fire that employee.

    If I ever need to build anything and I hire that builder for the job, I'm going to be looking at everything on a daily basis to make sure it is done right.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    It might be worth considering power line networking, since builders usually comprehend the need for getting electricity to sensible places. (If nothing else, it gives them somewhere to plug their power tools in.)



  • I've dealt with power line networking before.

    As far as I'm concerned, it is a sub-minimum quality networking for a home or very small office that doesn't need much bandwidth.

    In this particular case, that branch office has to have access to their company servers halfway across the country whenever they are working. Powerline networking couldn't begin to handle their workload.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @eric76 said:

    Powerline networking couldn't begin to handle their workload.
    Then they must get the cabling run, and run correctly. Time to run that trunking.



  • Yeah.

    I'm tempted to pull the wall outlets and see if they connected the pairs correctly.

    Years ago, I knew someone who wired an office for ethernet but skimped on cables by using two pair of a cable for one connection and two pair for another connection. I hope I never see anyone do that again.



  • @eric76 said:

    Yeah.

    I'm tempted to pull the wall outlets and see if they connected the pairs correctly.

    Years ago, I knew someone who wired an office for ethernet but skimped on cables by using two pair of a cable for one connection and two pair for another connection. I hope I never see anyone do that again.

    I've made the mistake of letting an electrician run the networking cables in a house that a friend built. I've also had the pleasure of dealing with new construction which didn't have any network runs. Never again.



  • I took a closer look at it Sunday evening and this morning.

    In the one location where there is a wall jack on the wall instead of on the floor, the ethernet cable does not go up the wall between the studs and into the attic. Instead, it goes along the wall parallel to the floor along an entire wall and then up to the attic! So if there is ever a problem with that cable, it is un-pullable without removing (or at least cutting into) the drywall.

    I still have no idea how they ran the cables from the wall plates on the floor in the center of the room.

    To make it worse in regards to the crazy idea about putting the network equipment in the attic, the attic is not vented. Temperatures on a 100 degree F afternoon could potentially reach up to 140 to 150 F in that attic. They have a SonicWall firewall -- I wonder how long that would last at 150 F.

    The equipment is now in the janitor's closet. Since they couldn't replace the cables with longer cables, they spliced (!!!) cables to the ones already there in order to reach the janitor's closet.

    I haven't taken a close look at their telephone system. They have telephone cables going to the outlets, but I have seen absolutely no sign of anything those cables might be plugged into. I'm dying of curiosity to find out how they handled the telephone system. Or if they handled the telephone system.



  • @eric76 said:

    Yeah.

    I'm tempted to pull the wall outlets and see if they connected the pairs correctly.

    Years ago, I knew someone who wired an office for ethernet but skimped on cables by using two pair of a cable for one connection and two pair for another connection. I hope I never see anyone do that again.

    I was taking over some business from a former employer of mine (he was "retiring").  In the mean time, I had to do what he speced out and follow his instructions.  I had suggested running double outlets rather than going back and doing everything a second time.  He said "well, we can just use the otheer "unused" pairs for the second outlet -- then proceeded to quote the customer that way and force me to install that way.  Since it was technically still his buisness at that point, I had to comply.

    One of many thing I regretted doing out of that arrangement.  The other was wiring a NEW office in the late 90's with 10-Base-2 wiring.

    I hope you didn't run into one of "my" wiring jobs from that time period.



  • Oh, things could also be worse.  (Paraphrased below)

     Me:  Ok, that should do it.  We have converted off of all of those temporary analog telco lines (POTS) onto the T1.  The only analog lines left should be those couple marked for 911 failover support.

     Jr Engineer sent by a good contractor:  Ok, I will go clean up the patch panel.

     [JR Engineer Leaves]

    [Lights go off on T1s - Data and voice]

    [Jr Engineer Returns]

    Me:  What did you do in there?

    Jr Engineer:  Just cleaned off the patch panel of all pairs that wernt those analog lines that you were keeping.

     Me:  All pairs?  What about the ones for the T1 lines?

     Jr Engineer;  What do you mean?

     Me:  face palm

     Fortunately, at least one of our vendors was nice enough to help out on a weeked without overage charges.  About the only time I have ever seen a big company waive their weekend fees like that.  I guess they felt my pain.



  • Several years ago, we had Internet from some doofus who had no idea what he was doing. Of course, he thought he was God's gift to networking.

    While we ran our Internet through him, I was absolutely forbidden from touching any of the equipment.

    At one point, he set up a firewall for us. He brought it over and hooked it up on a Friday afternoon. After plugging everything in, doofus headed for the door. I stopped him and told him that we needed to test it first. So he reluctantly waited while I walked over to a computer and tried to access the Internet.

    Sure enough, it didn't work at all. So he unplugged the power to the firewall and plugged the cable from the Cisco router directly to the hub (this was a few years ago) again and left. He never again tried to do anything with it. For that matter, he never came back on any day when I was in the office.

    A few weeks later when it became apparent that he had abandoned it, I looked at it and saw that he had it plugged in backwards. The WAN port was still plugged into the hub and so the cable from the Cisco router had to have been plugged into the LAN port. No wonder it didn't work.

    Fast forward a couple of years. I ran across the original box that he had brought the firewall to the office in. Inside the box was a printout of the firewall settings. The only rules set up on that firewall was to block spoofed traffic and permit everything else. Of course, since it had been plugged in backwards, it thought everything was spoofed traffic.



  • @eric76 said:

    Yeah. I'm tempted to pull the wall outlets and see if they connected the pairs correctly. Years ago, I knew someone who wired an office for ethernet but skimped on cables by using two pair of a cable for one connection and two pair for another connection. I hope I never see anyone do that again.
    It isn't as unusual as you think. Here is a product from AMP to do exactly that:

     



  • @Jaime said:

    @eric76 said:

    Yeah. I'm tempted to pull the wall outlets and see if they connected the pairs correctly. Years ago, I knew someone who wired an office for ethernet but skimped on cables by using two pair of a cable for one connection and two pair for another connection. I hope I never see anyone do that again.
    It isn't as unusual as you think. Here is a product from AMP to do exactly that:

     

     

     

    Sharing pairs in a single cable is fine for 100Base-T over CAT5.  It is very common practice to expand ports (for example adding VOIP) in an existing installation hence products such as this.  Of course if you are doing a new installation now it makes sense to run two cables when you are there so it supports 1000base-t on two ports.

    I guess CAT5/100 base T is around 20years old, so there was a point where use of the other pairs seemed a very distant future.

     



  • A university I toured decided that it would be nice for both students to have a drop, so there are 2>1 adapters everywhere. 

    I assume that they get stolen and misused until the students realize ethernet isn't like power and you can't split the lines indefinitely.

    The university I chose simply put adapters on the RJ45 hermaphrodite Token Ring ports.


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