Author Profile - Tony Fortunato is a Senior Network Specialist with experience in design, implementation, and troubleshooting of LAN/WAN/Wireless networks, desktops and servers since 1989. His background in financial networks includes design and implementation of trading floor networks. Tony has taught at local high schools, Colleges/Universities, Networld/Interop and many onsite private classroom settings to thousands of analysts. Tony is an authorized and certified Fluke Networks and Wireshark Instructor. His Pine Mountain Group CNA Level I and II certification demonstrates his vendor neutral approach to network design, support and implementations. Tony has architected, installed and supported various types of Residential Wireless High Speed as well as hundreds of WIFI hotspots. Tony uses a variety of technologies from Powerline, Wireless and wired technologies to find the most cost-efficient and reliable solution for his customers. Tony combines custom programs, open source and commercial software to ensure a simple support infrastructure.
I'm not sure why, but I tend to get a lot of 'Network Cleanup' projects. I think it goes back to the satisfaction I get when things are all neat and tidy - thanks mom. Tim O'Neill even referred to me as the 'Network Janitor' in his January article.
Oddly enough, I enjoy figuring out what customers have, how to make it work better, what to replace, what to rip out and delivering the final product; a clean, well documented network. Then again, how many people can identify a Memotec x.25 Pad, 3174 IBM Controller or an IBM 8228 MAU? Yes, I still run into that stuff. Then there's the whole CSI-type angle where you need to figure out how things ended up in the current state. If I'm lucky I can help consolidate some equipment, or eliminate excessive equipment or cabling. I can't tell you how many times I am referred to as the 'site specialist' with only 2 or 3 weeks at a customer site.
I can really empathize with the network analyst who inherits 20 years of network evolution. But when I ask "Whats this for?", I cringe when the response is "I don't know, but don't touch it".
Once I showed a customer that the 25 pair cable that ran to the terminal server was severed and the Ethernet connection was not connected in an effort to allow me to decommission it. I was floored when they said, "I understand Tony, but leave it alone, someone may need it one day."
I always get asked, "How do you start your cleanups, Tony?". The response is always simple and consistent, "Go for a walk." This is literally where I start. I want to see what can be removed. If I can easily remove obvious equipment and cabling, the remaining equipment seems less daunting. Believe it or not, this is the same methodology I use when troubleshooting
Last week I walked through this site and saw the most simplest things to remove; CAT5 cables with only one end patched, an old modem tie-wrapped to a cabling tray with no serial connection, a CAT5 Cable coiled around a battery backup, a Fibre Optic transceiver with 1 fibre connection hanging,. And lets not forget the CAT5 server cable crimped in the computer room door.
I spent the better part of this week, removing equipment and cabling.
I have included some photos for illustrative purposes.
Next week I go back for the next step; documentation and rationalization.