Throwback Thursday: When in doubt, escalate!

Users have been calling in complaints for a week about network outages on the upper floors of this four-story, 19th-century building, reports a network engineer pilot fish on the scene.

"First-level support, which is located in the basement, is not experiencing these issues," fish says. "They review the PCs and log in just fine, but as they look over the users' shoulders, they sometimes see this problem. They bump it up to our second-level support, system engineering.

"System engineering sits on it until the executives start complaining on Wednesday. Then they jump on it."

That mostly means calling third-level support -- the network engineers -- who determine that there's virtually no traffic on a network with 80 devices. But they also look at the network switch and note that the code has known bugs. A switch code upgrade is scheduled for the following week.

By Friday, the execs are pounding on the IT vice president's door. Network guys are asked to do an emergency code upgrade. They do.

But Monday morning the problem is still there, so fish and an analyst are dispatched to hunt for the source of the problem.

On floor 2, they find PCs with misconfigured network cards and networking software. They fix a few PCs, but then learn from users that their co-workers on floor 1 are having problems, too. That's on a separate physical network from the upper floors -- and there's no trouble ticket about problems there.

On floor 3, in an executive's office, they find his PC with nine USB devices plugged into it, and his network cable wrapped around both the USB and power cords. They untangle and upgrade the cable and lock down port speeds. Now it works.

On to the PC of the exec's secretary, where they find the network cable is wrapped around two power strips with three transformers on them and crushed under a 500-pound cabinet. One new cable later, it's much better.

"Fourth floor: All desktops were reconfigured," fish reports. "No cabling problems noted.

"The rest of floor 2 was revisited to clean up more PCs.

"First floor: Same desktop problems. Add in a few more network cables crushed under desks and boxes, up against cast-iron radiators and, of course, the one that was bent at a 300-degree angle at a floor jack.

"User problems: gone!

"So why exactly were network engineers required to fix a lot of desktop cabling and configuration problems?"

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