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August 26, 2005

it antiques roadshow

this week has been quite strange, to be sure.

to top it off, saw a bay networks 8 port 10base-t hub in service this week on a production network.

what a trip down memory lane. the full circa-1997 networking experience, including a manual crossover switch, and an additional port with both bnc and aui connectors on the back.

the good part: i ended up tracing the reported problem (no connectivity between any devices on the network) to the manual crossover switch. it had been pushed, which dropped the uplink to the half of the network with the dhcp server. no dhcp, no addresses, no connectivity. so…i pushed a button, and…voila!

the really bad part: besides the aforementioned issue, this museum piece had been put in as the core device on this production network. which meant that two of the devices on this network which transfer very large graphics and publishing files all the time only had a usable bandwidth of 10Mbps half-duplex.

and there was a modern 5 port switch, capable of 100Mbps full-duplex, hanging off to one side of the network. connecting one machine that basically accessed the internet, and nothing else.

so, a network change had been implemented that not only drastically hampered the performance of the network, but also made it much more likely to have a major failure.

and the only reason is because the change was done in a rush, without proper planning or knowledge about the impact of such a change.

knowing what you are doing…there is no substitute.

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