Thursday, February 9, 2012

CAT 5 repair patch cord.

So I just recently completed an installation of several VoIP phones at a customers location. One of the existing CAT 5 jacks failed when I tested it. Unfortunately I could not open the patch panel because there were too many patch cords connected and I did not want to take down their entire network for a single phone. I also was unable to open the jack due to its location behind a solid wooden desk that was fulled with paperwork.

Luckily I knew that 2 pairs were making it from the jack to the patch panel.
My test showed 1+2 open (orange) 3+6 reversed (green) 4+5 open (blue) and 7+8 reversed (brown)

What was I to do? Run a new CAT5? Sure that might have been an option, however the wire would need to be surface run, and I might as well take down the whole network to find where the open was instead of moving everything in the next 3 offices that the wire ran thru to get to the data closet.

My alternative solution was to create a custom patch cord at both ends of the run. These custom patch cords would swap the green/white pair to correct the reversal, while it would swap the orange/white pair over to the brown/white pair and repair the reversal on the brown white pair as well.

I used a short piece of CAT 5 wire and 2 jacks on either end of the cord in place of 8p8c connectors, so that if I had miswired anything I could easily fix it at either end with out needing to waste any 8p8c connectors. I also wanted anyone who saw this contraption to not confuse the custom patch cord with a regular patch cord, as it would only work for this jack, or other jacks that had a similar miswire, or improper punch down.

Here is an image that I just created visualizing the cut over cables that I made. One patch cord goes on one end of the run, while the other goes on the other end of the run, it really does not matter what side either one is on, but they must both be used for this to work.

The left side fixes the reversal for both pairs, as well as swaps the orange/white over to the brown/white pair.
The right side is just a straight thru connection for the green/white that has already been reversed, and brings the brown/white pair back over to the orange/white terminations. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

JFK Airtrain extortion!

I dropped a coworker off at JFK today. He was running late for his flight, so he had to reschedule for a later flight. He decided that since he had some extra time that he would park his car in the airport long term parking lot, and I would take the train home.

This is not a problem, because I remember when I worked at the airport several years ago that you could enter the subway from the long term parking lot. To my shock and disgust when I attempted to enter the subway system from the long term parking lot I was told that I had to pay the $5 fee for the Airtrain. I explained to the idiot reps that I never stepped foot onto the Airtrain and refuse to pay for a service that I did not use. They told me that is the way the system was designed, and that there is nothing that they could do about it, I would have to pay the fee to enter into the subway station - where I would also have to pay the $2.25 to get onto the subway.

This is unacceptable. I then found the telephone number for the Airtrain - which is 877-JFK-Airtrain (877-535-2478) in case anyone decides that they would like to call them up and complain about this or any other issue! The people who answered the phone were of even less help than the people at the gate if you could imagine that, you would think that someone would take the initiative to get a manager or supervisor to look at the situation, realize that they are complete idiots for designing a system that does not allow unrestricted access to the public transit system and let me through with out resorting to these extortion tactics.

After that I found one of those information telephones, which apparently directs calls to the same telephone number that I mentioned above, as the second person I spoke with on the phone was about as useful as a box of rocks.

The only alternative to not paying this extortion fee is to take a 20 minute walk out of the parking lot, across a bridge over the belt parkway - that does NOT have a pedestrian walkway, and to the Aqueduct Racetrack subway station on Conduit Boulevard.

The lack of foresight or planning on this Airtrain project is sickening. Not only should the Port Authority be fined for extorting customers who do NOT use the Airtrain into paying for it anyway just to enter into the subway system, they should also be held liable for safety violations for requiring those who choose not to cave into their extortion practices to walk on roadways that are not designed for, and unsafe for pedestrians.

The long term Airtrain/subway station should be redesigned to allow for customers who do NOT ride the Airtrain to have access to the subway system with out having to pay this extortion fee.