Back on the internet

Posted on December 7, 2006 by Chris Lumens in computers, site.

A technician from Covad came today and hooked up he DSL connection at the new apartment. We had him hook it up in the closet since there was a block of phone equipment in there already. After working in there for a while, he informed us that we had networking cable running to all the jacks in the apartment. He called it cat5, which we soon discovered was wrong, but it was still exciting. This meant we could hook up the jacks in our bedrooms with ethernet and not have to run big long cables from the bedrooms back to the closet.

So with the DSL bridge hooked up and doing nothing, we ran off to Home Depot to buy stuff. David has done all this telco wiring junk before, so I left him as the expert in charge of getting us wired up. My task was setting up the firewall and other servers. So we bought a punch down tool and some ethernet cable ends. When we got home, he started working on hooking up the wires coming in from the jacks and making some new ethernet cables. After that, we had to make another run to Home Depot for the jacks that we forgot to get earlier. Those got hooked up fairly quickly.

Of course, nothing worked. There were no link lights on any of the jacks we tried. So the set up currently looked like this: In the closet, we had an 8 port switch. From four of the ports, we had newly made ethernet cables running to the punch down block down by the floor. From there, we had rewired the lines coming in from the various jacks and had replaced the jacks on the other end. Clearly, there’s a lot that can go wrong in this setup and I had no idea where to start.

David did a bunch of website research and decided we’d wired it up right, but just didn’t use the right tool to do the punching. So while we were looking for someone who had the $60 tool, we got additional advice that basically amounted to ripping all that stuff out and just terminating the lines from the bedrooms with jacks in the closet wall. Then we could just run short ethernet cables to the switch. Following so far?

David went back to Home Depot yet again for another jack. Then we made more ethernet cables and finally got all the rooms wired and tested. By this time, it was midnight and we still didn’t technically have DSL since I hadn’t gotten the servers set up. But now that we were done working on the wiring, I could do that. I pushed some spare metal shelves into the closet and got to work hooking up UPSes, switches, and machines. I made a big giant mess of cables but got everything up. As you can see, the web server is now back in action.

The best part of this setup is that all the computers are in a closet we can close the door to. There’s no noise, no heat, and no ugly pile of electronics. The only sign that they’re there is the power cable running from a nearby jack around the corner and under the door.