A prominent feature of the network provision at my new school is that it is ‘just enough’.
Although the main backbone of the network is well-provisioned, with significant spare capacity, actually using that capacity can prove tricky. You see, everywhere there are UTP points, there are ‘just enough’. As in, there are enough to supply the existing computer equipment, and no more.
Most classrooms have exactly one UTP socket. In both offices and computer labs, the number of network points rarely exceeds the current number of computers, and where it does, never by more than one. Any other type of room has no networking at all. This is made all the more infuriating by the fact that in almost every case, single UTP sockets have been used.
Double sockets take up the same amount of space, and require only fractionally more effort and cost to install. Frankly, I want to shoot the various infrastructure suppliers who have agreed over the years that single sockets were a good idea. It’s either retarded not to consider future growth, or criminal to deliberately under-specify on the basis that the customer will have to come back and pay again later. In my last school we installed our own networking, and worked by the rule that we ALWAYS installed twice as much as we currently need. Hell, we’d usually install twice as much as we could IMAGINE needing. The new sick room that was built two years ago has at least 8 network sockets, if I remember correctly.
Adjusting to this new lacklustre provision has been… well, crucifying. New networkable colour copier shows up? No spare network point in the office. Additional computers in a department? No network points. Plans for wireless access points in some rooms? Great… but what will we plug them in to…?
In short, almost any new equipment provision involves running new network cabling, which inflates the cost far beyond the point that it should. If not for the fact I can do it myself, the cost of just three new departmental computers would have been double the amount originally budgeted. This evening I finished a 3-hour install job to run new network cabling just so that I can install a goddamned network printer next week. All I needed was one extra socket. Guess what?
I INSTALLED TWO. See how hard that is?