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links links links, bork, bork, bork! [Jun. 1st, 2006|07:38 pm]
This'll be a long one. Lets create two subsets:

This one is written for all you budding network engineers

So, some of you may know I work for a transit agency with a monthly ridership in the low millions. We're building a multipurpose metropolitan area network to run various services on, such as security cameras, ticket machines, signs, loudspeakers, irrigation controllers, and non-safety related performance information. This network will consist of about 50 nodes arranged physically in a vague figure-8, and spreads across an area of about 551 square km. Each node is connected via a minimum of 144 strands of single mode fiber; I get to use at most 12 (preferably six) strands to construct a highly redundant looping path that can survive the destruction of any node, and the loss of any single link while maintaining strictly less than 8 hops to the core. Further, it can suffer the loss of any set of physically adjacent conduit(s) (e.g. attack of a fiber seeking backhoe) yet still have a path to 90% of the nodes.

This does not lend itself to the core->distribution->access paradigm of my CCNA days, but it does allow me to dust off that CCNP training and relearn the fun rigors of OSPF... or, I suppose, rSTP, but convergence with that one is tricky in the backhoe case.

I read a lot of disaster books. Not techno thriller broken arrow type disasters, but real ones. See this picture of my bookcase for details. I also read a newsgroup digest from comp.risks regularly. The latest update has three interesting things:

1) [re: hosting providers] "One place I looked at promised backup power. Then when I asked to see it,
they explained that they only had the fittings and a contract for a backup
generator that would be delivered in a couple of hours. Given that they are
in San Francisco, that's a stupid plan, my-nurse-only-lets-me-use-a-spoon
stupid; in an earthquake, their provider wouldn't have enough generators and
probably wouldn't be able to deliver them anyhow."[1]

2) "[T]oday's *LA Times* featured a photograph of a self-pay
parking kiosk with a mis-set date of 16 May 1943, showing an amount due of

"Sanity checking, you ask? Not bloody likely. An auxiliary display shows
the fee in larger characters; it reads 8.1E 6. When you have an programmer
so clueless as to calculate money values in floating point, there is little
hope for subtleties like sanity checking."

3) Finally, have a look at the picture in this guys blog post.

Dawn Pizzini of the Information Technology Services Division is quoted as
saying, "We would have never assumed that that many components in that piece
of equipment would fail."

[User Picture]From: tony_m
2006-06-02 11:40 pm (UTC)
Ooh, what a fun project!

Oh, and were you sneaking into my bookcase???
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: jgp
2006-06-05 01:57 pm (UTC)
Just don't do something silly like putting the center point for all of this out in Rancho. Like a war zone, that place is. =)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: whizistic
2006-06-05 03:46 pm (UTC)
There's a pic out there re: the reason for a cable internet outage somewhere on the east coast: drive by shooting. Apparently the kevlar surrounding fiber isn't quite enough to prevent damage.

That's why we are installing in-ground :)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: jgp
2006-06-05 05:30 pm (UTC)
Nice. Glad to see that your employer is fully abusing utilizing their intern this summer. =D
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)