Network Networked

After four months of plonkering, procastinating, ordering of kit, scawling of diagrams and a couple of false starts I finally managed to start the wired networking project this weekend.

My predecessor had put in a wireless LAN connecting about five computers but, owing to the thickness of the walls and lack of money for more access points this was never going to reach everywhere. This is where cables come into play.

He had managed to get 300m of CAT5 network cable ordered along with 50 RJ-45 end pieces. Another VSO vol who stopped by managed to get them to order another 300m of cable and some trunking (the stuff that the cables go inside).

When I arrived this was all in-place. I then managed to get a 24-port patch panel, 24 RJ-45 wall sockets, 24 3m and 24 1m cables ordered along with the Krone punch tool needed to put it all together.

For non-technical readers this is everything I need to connect all the ‘puters together to each other and the internet in a “nice” (think telecom e.g. sockets on the walls) type of way.

On Saturday I turned up at 9am to find the office had been broken into on Friday night and we were waiting for the police to come and gather evidence. Under no circumstances was I to go inside the office (this came in a phone call once I was already inside the office of course). After waiting for them to do their CSI bit the artisan helping with the cabling had to reinforce the door.

Eventually around 11am we got started on putting up the trunking. It turns out drilling into concrete is hard, hot and dusty work.

By 4pm we had the trunking all done in one direction on one side of the corridor (90% of the target for that day). We then spent the next hour running a solitary CAT5 cable to the furthest point to be used for testing purposes (just so happens that furthest point is my office).

By then it was almost 5 and I was knackered so decided to put off splicing cables as I would no doubt make a schoolboy error. We tidied up as best we could but the place still looked like a dustpocolypse had occured. I planned to blame it on the break in.

This morning (Monday) I got in early to apologise to the cleaners and splice cable number one (port A1) in – my office. Did this, connected the distribution switch and then plugged my laptop into the far end with sweaty hands.

Bingo! LAN and Internet connectivity is go.

Making a mess in the corridor installing trunking

Making a mess in the corridor installing trunking

Subtle expert trunking

Subtle expert trunking

19" rack patch panel you say? No rack you say? Wall mount with a piece of wood!

19" rack patch panel you say? No rack you say? Wall mount with a piece of wood!

Racks? Who needs them when you have a counter

Racks? Who needs them when you have a counter

Link Number One, to my desk natch

Link Number One, to my desk natch

The cabling actually works (shock, horror)

The cabling actually works (shock, horror)

The end result - t'internet at my desk

The end result - t'internet at my desk

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