Peculiar Network Problem

This Monday I was called out to fix a computer that couldn’t get on-line. I quickly discovered that the problem wasn’t with the computer itself, but with it’s wired connection. The computer was wired as follows;

Control Room: Computer <-> Jack (unlabeled)

Electrical Room: Jack <-> Jack A1

Switch Room in another building: Jack A1 <-> Port 13 on the main switch

As you can see, it wasn’t very clear what was going on as the first connection wasn’t labeled. Also, the port number on the switch wasn’t that nice either.

Well, I started looking for clues. The weird thing was that both the switch and the computers port lights were on, so the connection was obviously good. Therefore I assumed that the NIC was faulty in the computer, and took the computer to my office to troubleshoot it. This turned out to be the exactly opposite to what I should have done, but more on that later.

So, I took the computer back to my office, and guess what? It worked perfectly. So now I didn’t really know what to think, but anyhow I needed to return it, so I went back there.

This time I checked every connection, and the all matched up, everything seemed to be working properly, but it didn’t. Then I noticed the give-away sign. The activity LED for port 13 was blinking like crazy. Like it was working at max capacity, which I knew that it didn’t since the computer didn’t send or receive any packages. So I figured that the switch might be faulty, and since half of it’s ports was unoccupied, I swapped the cable over to the next empty port, Port 15.

Then the weirdest thing happened. The LED for Port 15 went on, but the LED for Port 13 didn’t go out, it just kept going, blinking like crazy. Later I learned that there had been some tunderstorms in the area during the weekend, which had nocked out the climate control as well. The switched later failed compleatly on Tuesday morning, so I guess a voltage-spike must have fried it.

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