May 30, 2003

You want a connection where?

In the District Manager's office, at the conference table ... for net meeting, connect a laptop to a projector while lounging in the chairs.

No Problem, took about 10 minutes, including the time it took to check my e-mail on the LAN connection.

Posted by at 06:36 PM | Comments (0)

Fixing Ugly II

In Fixing Ugly I posted the tenative plans to clean up the TE closet:

"** Place existing hub on floor.
"** Add a Swing Gate (grey-blue)
"** Add cat-5 patch panels (yellow) and re-terminate existing cat-5 wiring.
"** optional: Add cat-3 patch to a terminal block.
"** Add Cisco Switches (green)"

Didn't mention I had to remove the KTS equipment, which I did by converting all (both) of the remaining telephones from 6-button sets to standard 2-line sets, given that they only had two lines on each.

The cables wouldn't allow the hub to move more than a foot or so from where it sat on the shelf. I had it sitting on boxes while I mounted the swing gate. As you can see, it is already looking a lot cleaner than that shelf sitting between KTS equipment. The fibers are connected, the routing should be opened up later today and I should have intra/internet connectivity by about 10 am. Next week I have to migrate all of the users over to the new LAN as the old is scheduled to die on the 6th.

So the cat-5 patch will have to wait a bit as that involves identifying exactly which floor location goes to which cable which goes to which port, and then cutting, reterminating, patching and labeling each move. That will take a gob of time.

Posted by at 06:29 AM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2003

A Hard Day's Night

Why I love my job -- the easy money of overtime.

Upgrading the LAN with new t-carriers. For configuration purposes they want them on a separate WAN card and send me a pair pulled from retired routers. I place them in the slots, but not seated -- it is generally not considered good form to seat cards into hot slots, PCM-CIA and hot-swappable hard drives notwithstanding.

Powering down the router means dropping the LAN -- not something you are allowed to do to the 9-5 folks. Which means some easy overtime for me (see picture to the left:)

Come in at time and a half, power router off, (top)
seat card, (middle)
power router on. Piece of cake. (bottom)

Plug into LAN, pull a DHCP address -- yeah, LAN's up.
Try getting my e-mail. No. ummm.... Ping server? No. Oh POOP!

Support telnets into router, looks around, seems as if the routing tables didn't load. Power down/power up. Still no go. Pull new WAN card from router 1, place in router 2. Router is working. Huh? A WAN card that is not even configured stops the router tables to not load?

I do not accept that I have found the tourble unless I can put the trouble back. So I power down, put the 'defective' card back in, power up. It works. Everything works. The equipment just wanted me to work even later so I wouldn't get home to blog and sleep. That was yesterday.

Posted by at 09:24 PM | Comments (0)

May 21, 2003

My new DS1s

On the other side of the partition at work is Special Services -- those PacBell Techs who install DS0, DS1, and the new gigabit service. They do not do phones, LANs, and stuff like that. I do phones, LANs and stuff like that -- I do not do DS1.

Yesterday I pick up my load, finally take a good hard look at the service order, and call dispatch. "This is a Hi-Cap order. OCS does not do Hi-Cap. This needs to be routed to Special Services." So they did.

My room circuit, which connects from the HiCap Network Interface Unit (NUI) (which is the hand-off from PacBell to the Customer) was due today. So I stop by about late morning and sure enough the Special's Tech is sitting in my terminal room testing my new Hi-Caps. 'Hi Shawn! how's it going?' She's swapping bit patterns with some guy on a test board somewhere with her megabuck test set. Which is why I don't do my own Hi-Caps. Be silly to give me a megabuck test set that I would use maybe twice year on average.

To Shawn's right is the old LAN equipment -- rack-mounted GDC-553's, a couple of Cisco 2500's, a couple of 3Com switches. The new DS1's will connect to new Cisco 2610's and a trio of Cisco 3524 switches. Why aren't they mounted yet? They're "in the mail." Should have had them this morning. Didn't. *SIGH* LAN is supposed to be LIVE friday week.

The skinny picture far right is the new NIU's. My "room circuit" will consist of a patch cord from the RJ-45 in the NIU to the Rj-45 in the back of the router. The cord is the easy part, the hard part is placing the router, which means placing a rack, getting power to the rack, etc..

T1 is DS1. DS1 is not always T1. T1's ran on two pairs. This new stuff is one pair to deliver 1,544,000 bits per second up and down.

Posted by at 09:38 PM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2003

The Big One Done!

This is what an 800 user LAN looks like:

A long time ago in a land far, far away Pacific Bell had a large building with hundreds of service reps. With a single Telephone Man to care for them. Joe Baca. They were his girls. Technology advanced, leases expired, and Joe's girls moved into new facilities -- with Joe.

The new place holds 700-800 workers. When we moved in we installed the latest and greatest computers -- 286 powered, 2 megs RAM, enclosed floppy drive. The floppy drive loaded the OS and some programs and connected to the LAN. It was a fun LAN to install. The workstations had 15-pin AUI connectors for the LAN, hooked to stiff, thick transceiver cables. Workstations were cabled over to stacks of 8-port hubs in cabinets scattered out on the floor. The stacked hubs connected to fiber hubs in the terminal rooms. We used XNS protocol on the LAN, not TCP/IP.

A few years later we spent many weekends and evenings, when the workers were away, tearing up the floors and running cat-5 UTP cables. We've upgraded the hub equipment to the Cabletron MMAC+ and now to Cisco switches. In the process we have reduced the space requirement in the terminal room to just eight racks, and two of them are nearly empty.

Posted by at 09:19 AM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2003

Heartless Bitch!

We have, among other pets, a cat and dog -- Tripod and Pepper. Tripod the cat is on a diet for urinary tract problems and that is limited to a scant handful twice daily 'cause he is FAT.

Tripod eats in the house. Pepper has an overflowing supply of food in the patio room, which she reaches by leaping through the window of the normally closed door. Fur Whales cannot leap doors.

I left the back door open. I hear a "crunch-crunch" turn and yell at the cat who races back into the house and up on a chair seat under the kitchen table. I close the door. Pepper comes in and smells the cat's breath. I get yelled at for leaving the door open.

Pepper normally -- Hell, ALWAYS -- eats out in the patio room. Just a minute or two after the above incident the Bitch hops through the door with a mouthfull of food which she noisily crunches down in front of the cat. That little girl is the meanest, most vindictive cold-hearted creature I have ever even heard of. You really develop an appreciation for the term bitch by knowing her.

Posted by at 06:32 PM | Comments (0)

Fixing Ugly

Ref: The Past Haunting

In the works, coming soon -- upgrading the LAN by replacing the existing 3COM hub with a pair of Cisco 3524 switches.


** Move the last three lines off the KTS and remove the last of the KTS equipment. (presentlly two lines on each of two six-button Voice Express sets -- change out to 2 button Voice Express or 2 line phones.)
** Place existing hub on floor.
** Add a Swing Gate (grey-blue)
** Add cat-5 patch panels (yellow) and re-terminate existing cat-5 wiring.
** optional: Add cat-3 patch to a terminal block.
** Add Cisco Switches (green)

Looks OK? Any complaints or suggestions?

Posted by at 11:57 AM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2003

Bath Day

Just curious ... how many people can soak in the tub, totally submerged except for a snorkel?

Posted by at 05:48 PM | Comments (0)

May 09, 2003

Ripping old cables

Everyone knows you run Ethernet over fiber or cat-5 unshielded twisted pair. Unless you're old and have been running wire for a while. To the left you see a standard 4-pair cat-5 cable, stripped to view the four pairs of 24 gauge solid copper wire. About a quarter inch diameter, flexible, easy to work with and terminate using little RJ-48 modular plugs and jacks barely larger than telephone plugs and jacks.

Below is a stripped back AUI transceiver cable. Still four pairs, but thicker, stranded wire, each pair wrapped with a metalic-mylar ground with a bare ground wire, all four pairs wrapped in mylar, the whole mess covered with braided shield, all encased in a suitable plastic jacket. The connector used with this cable is a shielded db-15 -- the same as used for a PC's joystick port.

Hacked and ripped and removed from the cable rack where the Cabletron MMAC-plus's used to sit. Six chopped off where they enter the duct to the next room. One disconnected from the vampire tap to the 10base5 thicknet backbone cable. I'll take that out next week -- using it to pull a rope thru the ducts between the first and second floors.

Posted by at 09:03 PM | Comments (0)

May 06, 2003

Megabuck to Junk

The MMAC-Plus comes in six- and 14-slot versions; we had one of each for testing. The six-slot unit was configured with two 10/l00Base-T switching modules as well as an FDDI and an ATM module. It has a list price of $87,000. . . .
Eighty Seven Grand for the six slot chassis with minimal cards -- in June of 1997, 'way back in the last millenium. The core of our LAN was a pair of 14-slot chassis with FDDI rings and multiple 36-port and 6-port cards with AUI, Ethernet, and fiber modules. The three satelites each had an MMAC-8 11 slot chassis. Total cost had to be around a half million.

The MMAC-8's are gone. Here are the two MMAC-plus 14 slotters, a pair of enviromental modules, four power supplies, and a boxload of cards. There's a guy on E-Bay selling three clean 14-slot hubs as a single lot. Asking $50 as a start bid with no takers.

Posted by at 07:39 PM | Comments (0)

Fan Club

My fan club -- the door in the background leads to the 2.1 terminal room that houses the LAN equipment of the previous entry. You couldn't pay me enough to live in a cubicle -- which is why I do what I can to help make their pitiful existence more pleasant.

Posted by at 09:55 AM | Comments (0)

Another room complete

CLICK to enlarge

Again, the Old LAN --

This in on the second floor of the main building, with quite a few more users. The Cabletron MMAC8 in the right hand rack has six cards providing 144 ethernet ports, a dozen cat-3 25-pair cables connecting to patch jacks in the left hand rack. As before, the whole 2nd floor is fed via a single 10baseFL connection -- SLOW!

At the top of the left rack is an Ungerman-Bass AH-16 hub. Seems as if there were these users on the second floor trying to access a server on the first floor who were wiping out the LAN -- so they got connected separately over their own fiber to the card on the MMAC-plus on the first floor that was also connected to that server, avoiding sending data on the rest of the LAN.

CLICK to enlarge

For the The new LAN I have three Cisco 3548 switches, connected on gigabit fibers on their own virtual LAN to the Cisco 5509 router/switches. Much cleaner.

Posted by at 09:10 AM | Comments (0)

May 04, 2003

Banana Pancakes

It's Sunday Morning. Helena woke up 'early' to make pancakes for breakfast for the family. Early means 9 am. She's mixing up the batter -- 5c Bisquick, 5 eggs, sugar, 2 cans MGD. I'm sitting here tapping on laptop looking at the bananas starting (maybe a little past starting) to speckle brown. Hmmm.....

Get a small bowl, mash a small banana, add a generous dash of nutmeg, steal enough batter for 4 medium pancakes. Served with maple syrup -- came out Excellent!

Posted by at 10:49 AM | Comments (1)

May 02, 2003

More LAN stuff

CLICK to enlargeToday I finished off the LAN equipment for the D building, where I work. The changes are less visible than the B-building. The old Cabletron hub was in a list-15 cabinet standing where I stood to take the picture. It was cabled to the top row of jacks on the two patch panels. The Cabletron was replaced by a pair of wall-mounted Cisco 3524 switches. A complete LAN for 35-40 users and 6-8 printers takes up less than a 48 inch x 60 inch space on the wall.

Posted by at 06:22 PM | Comments (0)

Engineer vs. Technician

The Engineers tell us what will or will not work. Technicians try anyhow.

Ethernet has various rules which I tend to break -- 300 feet maximum on twisted pair, max of 5 segments. To test these limits I set up a server on a DSL line. I just restored my fiber, but for the past few months had been running on:

A DSL line connecting to a Westell Wirespeed...
connecting to an SMC Barricade router w/ 4 port hub...
about 250 feet of twisted pair to a Kingston 5 port hub...
about 100 feet of twisted pair to a Fallon 8 port hub...
about 350 feet of underground telephone cable twisted pair to a UB2400 hub...
about 100 feet of twisted pair to another UB2400 hub...
and finally to the P233/Win98 that is running the Xitami server software.

Thre is a difference between Not Supposed To and Cannot.

Posted by at 09:26 AM | Comments (0)

May 01, 2003

Another upgrade complete

CLICK to enlarge

Here is the Old LAN -- installed six years ago. At the top of the rack is the fiber patch panel connecting to the Cabletron MMAC-8 hub at the bottom. It could have been built with 100 Mb/s FDDI (over 90Mb/s bandwidth) -- but the engineer overrode my suggestion and instead went with a 10 Mb/s Ethernet connection (about 4 Mb/s if its lucky) cascaded off the Cabletron MMAC-Plus in the main building.

25 pair cat-3 cables connect the Cableton to the cat-3 patch-panels (the 1RU grey jackstrips) which have cat-5 patch cables connecting them to the cat-5 (red-green-white) patch jacks and floor cables. The tall ( 2RU) jack panels were to cable to the TelCo backboard, for picking up ISDN or other voice or data circuits. Only the first 12 jacks were ever actually wired.

CLICK to enlarge

For the The new LAN the fibers are connecting Gigabit Ethernet between the new Cisco 5509 router/switches and the new Cisco 3524 10/100 autosense switches. The old Cabletron is gone, and the new Cisco 3524's have replaced the cat-3 patch panels. The excess never used anyhow patch facilities to the TelCo backboard has been reduced to a single panel, still only half wired.

If you look behind the rack you'll see that I even removed the old short step-ladder and the filled scrap wire bag. Not a bad wrap-up of a couple of months' efforts.

Posted by at 07:35 PM | Comments (0)