What’s wrong with this network port?

“We’ve plugged the laptop in,” came the call from the exam room, “but it’s not letting us log in… we think there might be something wrong with the network port though…”

Normally I try to discourage too much technical self-diagnosis from my users, but in this case, they were not wrong. See if you can determine what’s the problem is with this network port though a simple observational test:

What's wrong with this network port (apart from it being a single socket and being labelled 'RM')

Answer: click here.

Now, I’ve tried to replicate this ‘fault’ through normal use, and it’s not easy. The question is which little snotbag managed to do this in a room that is normally only used under exam conditions…

About The Angry Technician

The Angry Technician is an experienced IT professional in the UK education sector. Normally found in various states of annoyance on his blog. All views are those of his imaginary pet dog, Howard.

6 responses to “What’s wrong with this network port?”

  1. Rich says :

    My first thought was the problem lies with having the RM logo on it (and i presume installed by RM too!)

  2. TheCrust says :

    I’ve seen perfectly good Cat6 points do that at our place with very little encouragement – so it’s not necessarily the fault of either the snotbag or the RM badge on the front!

    If you have no new modules, the hot glue gun is your friend.

    As is the big stick for said snotbag *

    ( * Note I do not advocate staff imparting physical violence on naughty students. It’s far more sporting to hand the stick to said urchin’s “best” mates and let them do it :-) )

  3. Ivaarsen says :

    Wait… That looks more odd than an odd-looking network jack should. At least going off of what I’ve seen.

    Does that panel have a sliding door on it?

    1. Open sliding door.
    2. Throw end of patch cable in there.
    3. ???
    4. Profit! (In the ‘extremely funny picture’ sense.)

  4. ScottishTech says :

    Yep, had that. Though it was almost certainly the work of a snotbag.

    We also have a particular type of patch point in every room in the school where the port is at an angle – possibly about 45 degrees.

    Why they went with this rather than a normal angle one, I don’t know. But they did. And they have an alarmingly weak spring in the door. Take the cable out a few times with anything but “softly-softly hush little kitten” treatment and you’re almost certainly guaranteed a PING sound followed by said weak spring wrapping itself on the CAT6 terminals.

    I’m then left with 2 choices.

    A – Report it to the company which owns the school (it’s a PPP jobbie). Upon which the school will be billed a fairly hefty callout charge plus 15% admin fee and the port will be fixed in somewhere between 3-6 weeks.

    B – Get a pair of tweezers, extract said broken spring and be left with a working port which doesn’t have a springy door.

    One of these is what I’m supposed to do, and one is what I actually do. Can you guess which is which?!

  5. Ollie says :

    The points in the networking lab at uni were always getting popped in until someone had the bright idea of making teeny cat5 cables with a female-female block on the end so the points don’t get butchered.

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