Essential, defined

This small engineering company has a T1 Internet connection that works fine "almost all the time," says a sysadmin pilot fish who keeps it running.

"For the 'almost' part, I set it up so I can share an air card connection until the T1 is restored," he adds.

Of course, the bandwidth for that wireless modem is no T1. So fish warns users that, while the T1 is down, they should use only essential Internet services. That means sending only e-mail messages with no large attachments and keeping Web browsing to a minimum.

But response time during the latest T1 outage is still much slower than it should be, so fish starts hunting for the problem.

"On going around to the individual users, I found one who was streaming sports video," fish says. "I asked him why.

"He said it was 'essential' to keep up with his favorite team."

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