Contributed by Haresh Karamchandani
An NGO client contracted us to plan, implement and build their Local Area Network at their office in Monrovia.
The estimates were prepared according to our regular template and after several follow up emails by our Marketing consultant the client confirmed that they had approval and allocation in their budget to issue the work order.
We decided to do this job (which can get very noisy and messy) over a weekend. Armed with all the necessary materials and power tools our team headed for the clients’ office on a Saturday morning. We began by drilling the screw holes in the walls to lay the cable channels and RJ45 wall jacks as per the planned layout. This took us the whole of Saturday and we ended the day late at about 8 PM.
We decided to go back the next day, Sunday to continue and finish off the rest of the job. Being a Sunday 2 of the team members decided to come late, (one wanted to wash her clothes, the other wanted to drive his aunty to church!). So we started off short staffed, and ran the CAT6e cables inside the ceiling. This was a very difficult task to carry out as this building’s ceiling was very shallow and the boys had to literally crawl on their bellies to get the job done. Eventually by 6 in the evening we had managed to get all the cables sorted out in the ceiling and also managed to terminate the wall boxes. The only thing left was to put up the rack and switches and connect the cables respectively before carrying out routine tests. We decided to end the day at 6 and continue the next day, so that we could watch the UEFA cup Finals over a cup of hot chocolate/cold beer after a hard grueling day’s work.
The next morning we were back again and installed the rack neatly, crimped the cables and connected the switches to the routers. We worked the whole day, quietly, and were able to complete the job by late evening. We decided to hand over the project to the client the next day.
The terminals were checked one by one and all were found to be properly working and we handed over the project to the happy client.
I get a call in the morning from the client, complaining that some of the users are not able to connect to the internet!! We dispatched our technicians to go and check it out and after some trouble shooting it was discovered that the switches were interlinked and then connected to the router. This was not working therefore we decided to link the switches individually to the router directly. On doing so all the users were able to browse.
I get a call again from the client complaining that some users are not able to browse. We again dispatched out able technicians to the site to check what may be the issue. Our Head of IT, came up with the diagnosis that the original EDIMAX routers that were installed by the ISP were substandard and were not able to carry the load of the network and kept crashing. He recommended that we change the routers to CISCO Linksys routers which are more reliable and sturdy. We explained to the client and they agreed and gave us the go ahead to get the routers replaced and configured. We did so. And everything was working well.
I get a call again. Some users could not browse!!!! This was getting frustrating as we had done many such jobs in the past and NEVER had to face so many obstacles. This time around I decided to take along a fellow Indian friend and technician to check and confirm if the job was done correctly and if there were any errors somewhere. The fellow checked all the settings and he confirmed that all was done according to the norms of networking. He asked to re-set the routers and reconfigured them. We did that. Everything seemed okay.
I get a call again! The client said that 1 user was not able to connect to the internet. I decided to go and check it out myself. On checking we realized that the drop down cable from the Jack to the users computer had come loose from the Jack. This may have happened when the sweeper must have pulled on the cable whilst sweeping in the office!! We connected the cable back firmly and the client could browse.
Its been 4 days since the last call out and we have been following up 2 times daily to check if everything is fine. So far so good. No complains. And, while concluding this blog I just got a call from the client asking us to send our invoice for payment! ANOTHER HAPPY NATC CLIENT added to our list!!