Throwback Thursday: Just one thing

Consultant pilot fish gets a panicked call from a client: "Everything was working fine. We went into a meeting, and when we came out, nothing worked. We couldn't access the Internet or the server, nor use our VoIP phones."

Fish arrives on site and, sure enough, the network is completely down -- nothing's working. He checks one more time with the client, who repeats that all anyone did was go into a meeting.

"After futzing with the switches and routers, the owner saw me moving some cables," says fish. "I was connecting my laptop directly to the router, where it worked fine.

"He said, 'Oh yeah, I did do something in the conference room. I connected a wire to a jack.'"

Turns out that, as the owner was going into the conference room for the meeting, he noticed an unconnected network cable. It actually belonged to an iMac that had been moved to another room.

But the owner, wanting to make sure everything was nice and tidy, went looking for a logical place to plug it in. And he finds it -- an unused network port on the back of the VoIP phone.

"Their VoIP phones have two RJ-45 connections: one from the wall and one to the computer," sighs fish. "We don't use this little built-in hub in the phone.

"When he connected the cable to the phone, you can guess what that did. Not only did it create a loop in the data network, it looped the voice switch to the data switch.

"I just loved his 'Oh yeah, I did do one thing.'"

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