Shark Tank: Race condition II

Sysadmin pilot fish moves into a new office, and on the first day his PC doesn't detect a network at all. He asks around; word is that everything should be working by the end of the week.

Monday morning fish arrives at work and turns on his PC. Now it detects the Ethernet network, but fish still doesn't have an IP address.

"Nothing is offered by DHCP, so I run tcpdump and try giving my machine similar settings to what the other machines on the network appear to be using," says fish. "Nothing. Can't even ping the router.

"Eventually, the person who seems to manage the office turns up. I ask him what settings I need, as I can't connect to anything. He doesn't really understand, and seems to think that the person who plugged the cables in on Friday has messed up -- otherwise it would be working."

Eventually fish convinces the office manager to get the local techie to help. She arrives, and fish explains that he needs to know what static IP address to give his PC, since the network doesn't seem to be giving out IP addresses automatically.

Can't do it, techie tells fish. They've only paid the telco for one IP address, so fish will have to use a "floating" one.

"I ask how I get such an address," fish says. "She tells me I need Internet before I can get an IP address. Apparently, once I've got Internet, I just go to and it will give me one.

"Wonderful. She looks at me like I'm a bit stupid, so I open up a Web browser and let her use it. She types in, and looks confused when it gives an error message about being unable to connect.

"Oh well. Looks like I can't get an IP address, as I don't have Internet."

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Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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