Home Office Network Nightmare

April 28, 2009

463px-the_screamI can see in my mind the Quality assurance inspectors at the network cable manufacturing plants testing the cables while a signal is passing through it.
(Warning the following technical information maybe a little mind numbing) ๐Ÿ™‚
Quality check of standard Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) non plenum network cable.

Operating temperature range -20ยฐC , 80ยฐC ;check.
DB check for noise at high frequency; check good
DB check for crosstalk at high frequency; check good
Maximum pull tension before signal degradation 35 lbs ; check good
Maximum bend radius before signal degradation 4 ” ; check good
Maximum length before signal degradation 250 feet; check good
(end of mind numbing technical info) ๐Ÿ™‚
Little do the inspectors and manufacturers know that their testingย is not enough.They do not know the tortures that await the cable once they are installed in a home.
What are they missing?
troubleshooting01 A pit bull or terrier chew test.
You see dogs never chew on cable that is out in the open they chew on the cable under the desk; behind the curtain or any other place that you can not see.

Then there should the 120 to 200 lbs Foot Step Crunch testThis test will see if the the finitely placed twists to the cable, to resist crosstalk and noise, will go back in place after being repeatedly crunched by an adult human foot stepping on it.
It works for a cockroach doesn’t it? ๐Ÿ™‚

What should follow next is the I didn’t see the cable that tripped me test.This should be done at least twice to simulate a real home office environment. The Quality Assurance test will verify if there are sufficient strands left in the RJ45 connector to carry a signal after the majority of the strands were ripped out by the forceful kick of a 150 lbs adult having slightly exceeded the 35 lbs pull tension limit of the cables specifications.

What’s next? The Slinky testThis is where the house keeper, mom or family member thinks it will be more tidy if the excess cable was coiled into a tight little slinky. The test should verify that the slinky coiled network cable will not blowout the network interface card in the computer or the port in the switch, modem or router. Remember when you made a magnet with a nail and wire coiled around it? Even though there is no nail the magnetic field is there and pushes the current the other way. So even though there is no nail in the coil the router port or switch port or modem port gets nailed. ๐Ÿ™‚

Next there should be the Hoover test where a loop of the network cable is caught in a vacuum cleaner for 8 to ten seconds just enough time for the bristles to tear away the insulation and expose the wires. Hey this one really sucks ๐Ÿ™‚

Finally there should be a test to verify that the laws of physics still work and should be posted on the cables. What test is this?
The 250 foot limit!At 250 feet the frequency changes; its called the Doppler effect. What is amazing to me is that people still put extensions on the end to get an extra 3 or more feet and it doesn’t work. They always respond “Then why do they make the extensions?” The answer is so people will buy them! The only way to add any footage to the limit is to add a four port network switch with power.

But as with all nightmares they come to an end and I always tell myself it could be worse. It could have been a wireless network! ๐Ÿ™‚