The Mystery of Port 11
One of the hallmarks of school network infrastructure is that it’s often installed by contractors who specialise in delivering, shall we say, less than average value.
Either the school has so little money to commit to infrastructure projects that they end up with the bottom of the barrel, or the contractors will simply pull one over on the school as they often lack staff with sufficient skill to properly evaluate the finished job. I have yet to find a contractor I’m happy with, so as was the policy at my previous school, I undertake as much infrastructure work as possible in-house.
This week I finally got fed up with not having a list of which room each network port was in. The vast majority of it was installed before my time, so large parts of it were still a mystery. Some of it still is. There is a mysterious port 3 in one of the network cabinets that disappears into the ceiling, and apparently never leaves. My Linkrunner reports it is 41.7m long and has nothing connected to the other end. I have searched the entire building and cannot find port 3 anywhere; the numbering jumps from 2 to 4 between adjacent rooms.
Port 11, in the Humanities block, is a mystery that has now been solved. This building is the newest in the school, and the only one with a map handily left by the contractors showing where each port is. Or at least, where each port is supposed to be. They didn’t really test most of them either, but still, it’s the thought that counts. Port 11 was marked as being on the rear wall of the cookery room, but the entire wall is covered with fitted cabinets and a network port was nowhere to be found. After a thorough search of the area, including the other side of the wall, I sat down and pondered the fate of my errant extra port; a rare delicacy in a building notoriously short of networking, and one I didn’t want to overlook.
Then I spotted two holes in the corner of the suspended ceiling, right above the cabinets. Holes exactly the size of cable trunking. I lifted a ceiling tile to investigate…
Ah. There it is.