Yesterday was an interesting day – a sewage pipe that runs through the office wall apparently got stressed with the amount of rain we’ve had recently, and sprung a rather good leak. One moment it was a nice dry office that didn’t smell too bad, and the next minute the sales guys were moving desks and the room was ponging a bit. Based on the smell, it was more stagnant water with decaying leaves etc, not toilet sewage. Net result was that we had to evacuate the room for the rest of the day, and it was up to the technical department to try and provide voice and data services to alternate rooms so the business could at least limp along for the rest of the day.

I spent probably 3 hours going up and down stairs, trying to get our voice and data patched into other cabinets. Not once did I get dial tone or an Ethernet link signal on any of the cables I moved around. Problem 1: We don’t have a tone tracer/generator, so I couldn’t determine ports using that. Problem 2: The patch panel in our office has 16 ports. The patch panel upstairs in the comms room has 12. This automatically invalidates 4 of the ports in our office. Problem 3: No documentation on how everything goes together. I was reverse engineering the colour codes used by the folks that laid in the service originally to determine what cables did what.

In the end, I never did get it to work, though I did discover along the way that we don’t have dial tone on the dedicated analogue line for ADSL, so we’re going to have to check that patching run again to make sure no one has pulled the wires out of the punch-down blocks (they weren’t in properly in the first place!).

Offices, sewage and disaster recovery
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