Wiring Upgrades

It’s been a busy couple of days here at TCG. We have been on top of a wiring job at the Crossville Chronicle. The Chronicle’s corporate owners are in the process of a fairly substantial hardware upgrade for all the systems in the building. Durning this process it was discovered that the buildings Ethernet infrastructure was woefully sub-standard. We discovered that in some cases Cat3 2-pair phone line was being used as network cabling, and in many places, 10-BaseT Hub where being used to provide additional network connections. These two elements alone were absolutely killing overall network throughput. We determined there was also a need to drop 30+ new runs of Cat5e for additional work stations and printers and to accommodate those being served off the old slow hubs and Cat3 lines.

It’s important for us as IT managers to realize that we are the support staff to the real “business” that we work for. After all, IT is not what makes a business money. IT is only there to help drive whatever function of a business that DOES make money. As outsourced IT guys, the line becomes somewhat fuzzy. For us the money making element “is” IT, but to our clients it is not. Because of this, it’s part of our internal philosophy that we do all we can NOT to interrupt work. Most often this leads to non-standard work hours. This way we can accommodate our clients by not trying to do major projects while they are trying to do the real work of the business.

This philosophy came into full effect this past Labor Day weekend as we brought to bear our team to complete this massive job in less than 2 days. We ran just under a mile of cabling. We completely rewired a wiring closet installing racks, patch panels, and switches. We wired in wall boxes and jack plugs to all the stations. We did all of this with our “do it right the first time” attitude. We did all of this and the Chronicle opened for business on Tuesday morning without a single network glitch.

In all fairness, the project isn’t quite over. While we were doing the network wiring we discovered some issues related to the phone wiring that are going to be addressed, and some of the very old phone plugs did not co-locate with our new network plugs, so we had to go back and “neaten” things up with new hardware. But that was just cosmetic, and a point of pride for us.

I’m looking forward to the next phase of this hardware upgrade. We are redoing the Server Rack to bring a total of 3 Apple Xserves online with redundant power and better routers. We’ll have a multi-terabyte redundant storage system with automatic failover should a drive stop working. We are already doing a massive automatic offsite backup that keeps 100% of the Chronicle’s priceless digital assets safe.

While we all tossed in our efforts on this project, a few really came together to pulled this off. Thanks to Liz, Daniel, Shawn, Heather, Owen, Boon, and Delmer, we could not have done this without them. Thank You!

Leave a Reply