LMTV Interview | DC Palter of Apposite Technologies
LMTV | How to Ensure Application Performance over WAN (by DC Palter)

Whats Wrong with Being A Dip Switch (by Tony Fortunato)

The other day I was troubleshooting a problem which required a TAP for proper visability.

When I commented that my TAP was in my car, the customer said, “no problem, we got one”.  I had no idea what was coming up.

I thought it was odd that the tap was still in the box, so I assumed that they must have just purchased it.  Then I noticed the packing slip’s date was 2005.  Huh??!!!  Ok, I’ll bite. I asked when it was purchased and they said, “Not sure, but I’ve been here 2 years and never had a chance to use it.” He then added, “ I was excited when you mentioned that we need a tap  so you can show me how to use it”.

Before I go on, I think it is only fair to state that I’ve been at many places where equipment gets purchased and quickly becomes shelfware. This place is no different and should not reflect negatively upon those analysts who work there since they have other things to worry about.

Their 8 port TAP came with a disc containing software to operate/configure it but unfortunately the netbook they were using did not have a optical drive. No problem, I’ll use my pc to copy the software to a USB drive. Then we found the software was only for Windows XP and they were using Windows 7. Then we proceeded to the vendor’s website to find that this specific model is no longer supported and is End Of Life. I thought, no problem, lets call the vendor. We got a helpful support person who provided a link to the Windows 7 version of the software. After installing the software, we found that the firmware on that device was a few revisions behind, preventing us from using the software.  FYI … they would have been entitled to the firmware update at no cost back in 2007. Yikes……………..

I then remarked that we are burning sunlight and I’m only here for 1 day, so I’ll get mine. I happen to have a Garland Technology P1GCCBP copper tap that this would be perfect for.

The analyst was surprised how much smaller my TAP was and the Dipswitches on the side of unit was foreign to him. He commented that he thought DIP SWITCHES indicated that the product was outdated, low end, or low quality. I explained that I love these types of products since configuration is a breeze, no software is required and all the software/drive compatibility issues go away.

We flipped 2 switches and were collecting traffic within 10 minutes.

There are 2 points to this story;

  1. Don’t let your equipment become shelfware. Someone should be responsible for it. They should train other members of team on its use and keep up to date on vendor software upgrades, etc…
  2. Never judge a book by its cover. Just because a product is different, for example dip switches, don’t assume it is inferior. You should find out what specific benefit the tool or product brings to the table. I would not trust anyone who only used 1 tool.

Hope you found this story helpful and I thank you for your time.


Continue reading other LoveMyTool posts by Tony Fortunato »