shameful-cabling gallery of infamy - does anybody know where it went?

Justin M. Streiner streiner at
Mon Sep 10 15:33:46 UTC 2007

On Mon, 10 Sep 2007, Warren Kumari wrote:

> One of the places where I worked had a bunch of networking gear and around 
> 12x1U servers all squeezed into a shower stall.... There was a cardboard sign 
> hanging from the faucet saying "WARNING!!! Do not turn on"

Not too far from the dial POP I mentioned in my last post, was another 
dial/T1 POP in northwestern Maryland.  Prior to our acquisition of the 
company that originally built the POP, it was located in two rooms of the 
basement of a 200-ish year old homestead in the area.

That wasn't the problem - structurally, the building was perfectly fine. 
The only problem specific to the building was a total lack of cooling in 
the basement.  Several racks of routers, servers, and telco gear throw off 
lots of heat, so the temperature in that room was never below 95 degrees 
even in the dead of winter.  There were also some well-fed cockroaches, 
who would occasionally help us move equipment.  My only conern with them 
was that they'd threaten to unionize and lobby for better working 
conditions :)

The telco demarc for the T1s.  The bread racks holding the routers and 
dial gear would be just to the left of this view.  You can see some of the 
spider web wiring peeking out from the beams above.

More telco gear in another part of the basement.  Yes, the muxes are 
wrapped in plastic, apparently to keep the dust off of them :)

The problem was the installation work done by some of the people who 
worked for the company we acquired.  T1 blocks were on one wall and the 
routers were in the opposite corner of the room - total distance was about 
30-35 feet if the wiring was done 'the right way'.  The solution I found 
they used was to buy a bunch of 100-foot Cat5 jumpers and loop the excess 
length back and forth on itself, cinch it all together with zip ties (bend 
radius recommendations be damned) then anchor the whole mess to one of the 
ceiling beams with a staple gun.  Multiply that by 20-ish T1s and the 
ceiling turned into a spider web very quickly.  Power distribution was 
also very interesting.  It consisted of a piece of Romex pulled from a 
nearby electrical panel to a string of household duplex outlet boxes 
nailed to a 2x4.  Somewhere in the mess of wiring for that beast, it 
appears that the maker never bothered to test for a good ground...


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