Monthly Archives: February 2015

Cool Tool – Table Top Rack

Sometimes a great tool can be both inexpensive and very cool, all at the same time. Take a look at this…

12U Table Top Rack

12U Table Top Rack

This is a great tool for a network engineer….it’s a table top network rack, 12U in height. It’s about 23″ tall, and will hold a number of network devices (depending on size and weight), and will support up to 75 pounds. As you can see, I have several devices sitting in it, handling different jobs, along with a rack-mount power strip at the top.

Now, the rack isn’t perfect…although it is advertised to be the standard 19″ width of a network rack, it’s just a hair under that. (The rack is really designed to hold musicians equipment.) Network equipment does work in the rack, but you might have to squeeze it in a bit, for a certain few types of devices. Plus, I would not want to load it up to the full 75 pound limit. Otherwise, it works great.

For our lab at work, I have a 50/10 Mbps fiber Internet circuit, with a /29 public IP subnet (about 6 usable IP’s) as follows…

  • The Cisco router is handling some testing I’m doing for VTI and DMVPN tunnels
  • The ASA5505 firewall is handling the departments internal LAB network
  • And the Linksys router allows a plain Internet port to sit at each of our PC Techs desks so they can test users laptops for VPN connectivity, and other Internet related issues.

I bought it at CablesAndKits (and here is a link to the rack). I would recommend that you check out CablesAndKits…I have used them for the last couple of years, having purchased some equipment for both my work and church, and my own lab at home. They are great to deal with, and I highly recommend them. (And no, I receive nothing for this.)

Hope you are having a great week!

Technology – Too Fast, Too Soon?

Technology is progressing at an ever faster rate, I think we can all agree to that. And there is nothing necessarily wrong with it. But we do need to be cautious and careful…we need to make sure we are fully in control of all this technology. Yes, perhaps I’m being a bit overly dramatic…but take a look at this…

Boston Dynamics “Spot” (Youtube) – Note…Google purchased Boston Dynamics back in 2013.

Isn’t that AMAZING??!! Incredible!! Didn’t you flinch just a bit when Spot was kicked? And the potential uses for Spot is huge…carrying supplies to soldiers in the battle field, searching for bad guys inside buildings, etc…endless possibilities. And it will not be long before there will be a Spot that can run much faster than a human. (Edit: They already do…I just came across this.) And in the wrong hands, Spot could be very deadly too. Just think about 2 or 3 Spots working together.

Edit: Take a look at this video, also by Boston Dynamics. I sure hope they don’t change their name to Cyberdyne Systems.

What about other disruptive technologies coming our way? How about driverless cars. Seriously, it will not be long before they will be on the roads in large numbers. What’s wrong with that? Perhaps nothing. But what if you are a taxi driver? Don’t you just know that a lot of taxi companies are just looking to the day when they can have a fleet of cars, and not have to pay a single driver.

How about airline pilots? Right now, planes can take off, fly to their destinations, and land themselves. Pilots are there to do a bit of taxiing and to take over should something go wrong. In fact, we have an issue now in which some pilot’s flight skills are “rusty” due to the constant use of the autopilot. And, when all of the planes are controlled by computers, guess what happens next? We don’t need all of those flight controllers on the ground….a computer can easily replace them too.

Ok…just one more example…drones…those small remote controlled copters flying everywhere holding a camera. Just an annoyance now, but drone technology is rapidly advancing. In fact, software is being developed that will allow many drones to operate together, in a “hive”, with a single purpose. So lots of cameras flying around? I don’t think so. What if each drone had a small firearm of some type? Ugh…I don’t want to think about this.

Am I being too alarmist? I sure hope so…I really do. And I will keep telling myself that.

Troubleshooting – Update on My T1 Circuit Issue

As a followup to my post last week concerning troubleshooting a problem T1 circuit, it looks like we are finally making some progress. After working on the issue yesterday, a cable specialist was dispatched out to work on narrowing down exactly what and where the problem lies along the cable span. The carrier sent me an update stating that the LEC (Local Exchange Carrier) has:  “dispatched a cable specialist who has determined there is an unbalanced signal between the last repeater in the local loop distribution plant and the customer premises”.

An “unbalanced signal”….well, that’s a new one for me. But hey, as long as it gets fixed, I’m fine with that.

When I first arrived at work this morning, I checked my stats on the router and verified the circuit was still taking heavy errors…

T1 circuit still taking heavy errors

T1 circuit still taking heavy errors

Later in the day I received an update from the carrier stating that a repair had been made, and that they showed the circuit running clean for the last two hours. Hmmm…really…let me check…

Circuit running clean for the last two hours

Circuit running clean for the last two hours

Well, well…the circuit really is running clean for the last two hours (8 intervals). NICE!!

One more thing to do…clear the counters on the serial interface. Take a look at the stats on the serial interface…LOTS of accumulated errors over the last 2+ years….so lets clear all those stats and keep track of the circuit from this point on…

Show interface information, and clearing the stats

Show interface information, and clearing the stats

I’ll be keeping track of this T1 over the next several days to see if the repair made by the carrier really did fix the issue. Fingers are crossed!!