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Ride 'em in! Count 'em out!

At 11:20 this morning Burr Elementary dropped off the map. A quick look at Burr's neighbors showed that whatever happened to Burr's ATM switch, it was down hard.* After giving it the obligatory "wait ten minutes to see if it comes back", Pat & Kevin headed out to Burr to investigate.

Around noon I get a call from Pat: it appears that electricians working on the ground floor took out the power feeding the network room on the 1st floor. Things are complicated by the fact that the hallway on the 1st floor is sealed off for Asbestos abatement. He's working on a plan and he'll call me back.

Now, losing a school that's mostly closed off isn't that big a deal — the refugees from the main office who are camping in one of the portable classrooms on the site would lose phones and data until we could get in to fix things, but Burr has a dependant. The district's Buildings & Grounds department gets their network access via an overhead fiber-optic cable from Burr. With Burr down, B&G's phones and PCs are dead too. We need to get this fixed.

Round about two, Pat calls again, asking me to verify remotely that Burr is back on the network. "You're up!" I tell him. They had latched onto one of the lead-men from the Asbestos abatement company and convinced him to go inside and check out the power. The electricians provided an extension cord. Four times he went in, and four times he came out shaking his head. One of the construction managers said something about "trying to talk someone through flying a 747". But, on the fifth trip he got it. He found some still working plugs and got enough things plugged in to get the switch running.

Just another day at the ranch.



* Burr's neighbor ATM switches reported their fiber-optic interfaces that link to Burr as down with no signal. Sometimes when an ATM switch merely locks up, the neighbors will show the physical layer is up, but no traffic (i.e. a literal case of the light is on, but no one's home).

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