Yesterday, the campus network went dark.
I mean, completely and totally dark. So, naturally, it made for a very interesting day in the I.T. office. I felt bad for my boss, because from the time I arrived (an hour early) at 9am until the time I left (a half hour late) at 3:30, he was on the phone with various support agencies for our equipment. First, an internal part of our network went dark. Then, our ISP (Charter Communications) dropped. The campus receives internet via two sources: fiber-optic cable, and coaxial cable. The fiber was down, but Charter was able to get the coax live again. Unfortunately, our network controller was down, so internet could only be achieved by plugging directly into the coax box in the server room.
Knowing students would be without internet for at least the day, I managed to plug a home router (just a standard Cisco router) into the coax box and set up a temporary wireless network for the staff to use in our office if they needed. Surprisingly, it worked really well. Of course, when you’re bypassing the network and going directly into the coax and feeding every ounce of 100Mb of available bandwidth to one router, you’re going to get some pretty fantastic speeds. I managed to download a 1.38GB iso for LXLE in five minutes.
The LXLE was for another project that I made a little more progress on yesterday. We came across a box of IP cameras and the task of finding a way of setting up a surveillance system was handed to me. So, for the past several weeks I was playing around with them and finding how to get them working. LXLE may be the OS on which we’ll run our surveillance software, but that depends on how well the software works when I install and test it. But, I couldn’t do that part yesterday because I had to take down my temporary camera test network to set up the temporary staff wifi.
I can’t express in words my level of appreciation for all that my boss does for this campus. When two others left the I.T. department, he was left alone with all the big and small tasks. I was hired to handle more of the small tasks and side projects so he could focus on more pertinent things, but that still leaves him with a lot of things that he didn’t have to worry about previously. When I got back to my dorm last night around 10:15 and saw both the ethernet and wireless networks online and fully functional, I immediately texted him to say, “thank you for everything that you do.”
At the end of the day, everything was live and fully operational again, and life goes on as normal.
Still, this song kind of describes the frustration (and it’s catchy).