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First Net Admin Position

By Shanghai Sam ·
I've just finished my 3rd week of my first Network Administration position. I was thrilled to get the job, largely for the experience that I stand to gain from it.

I've worked online managing support teams,for 10 years and worked my last year inschool supporting the Server/OS Instructional Lab (multi-quadruple boots), and while I recieved lots of cudos and well-done's for the work I have done.. What is it about this first Net Admin position, that has made me feel at times, like I may have possibly forgotten just about everything I've learned till now. Well okay I am exaggerating *but*.. have most folks felt like this at one time or another with their first big job?

Of course I spose my whirlwind introduction to the several networks I'll be supporting, plays a substantial intimidating factor. Actually I didn't have 8 hours with the outgoing Admin. It was more like a 3-hour tour (can you hear the theme music? I do.).

In addition to the several stations, and servers in-house, I'll also be providing consultant support for about 8 area businesses. So yes imagine that partial day of introduction to my new realm, spread amongst all these places. At the businesses I have no IP maps, and I have no idea if labeling on thedata jacks, Switch ports, Cables to the Switch ports is accurate.. or only known to the mind that set it all up.

So about feelings of forgetting all I'd learned.. there I was, this last week called out to trouble-shoot a new computer which had been installed the week prior to my coming on board, and according to the staff, had not been on the network since a day or two after it's installation.

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by Carol In reply to First Net Admin Position

I'd brought a patch cable from the office, and my new LAN tester, my Executive-looking Legal Pad (helped to subside those inner twangs of insecurity). So I can't say quite what it was, perhaps the breathing that was going on just inches above my right shoulder, as the business owner observed my work.

I started out with a successful ping to itself.. then attempted to ping the PDC Server, the Proxy, the Win's server... all no go. I tried changing it's IP address (daring nearly, considering it was a leap of faith to assume perhaps they were issuing the addresses in order lowest to highest, and it being the last station to be purchased). I also placed it back to it's original IP, when those attempts proved uneventful. I tried my new patch cord from my office, and it too failed. I pardoned myself to the co-worker in an adjoining desk, and unhooked her from the network, while I tried the troubled station's connection in her Data port... still no connectivity.

I uninstalled TCP/IPand the Client, rebooted and reinstalled them, supplying the proper settings (verifying the Wins address and settings with the co-workers station), and still... no cigar.

Mid-way through this trouble-shooting process the business owner told me, there was another PC which had just begun having the same symptoms, I stood and said "Let's go take a look at that.." thinking that I maybe I would find something to correlate the two situations.

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.. and then the mama bear said...

by Carol In reply to ..cont.

Fortunately nearly as soon as I saw the second culprit station, or at least as soon as the owner moved aside, I saw a HUB within the maze of wire under the desk, with no lights. I crawled under the desk retrieved the power cord from the maze and felt a small respite of accomplishment. Short-lived however as I still had a station with an unknown problem. I asked to see the Switch, and shortly was led to a new Switch on a newly installed shelf, with about 70 LBS of patch cables dangling from it. All this weight supported by the combined efforts of the 24-port Switch. I felt my way over the connectors pushing them in for any obvious looseness and actually did find two which had extended out of the ports fairly far. Then I made my way back to the station with my shadow, who actually is a very pleasant individual.. just made me a tad nervous. At any rate suddenly there was the network. The Owner rejoiced, and was off to answer a phone call. Meanwhile my eyes are narrowing and looking over this connection, waiting for the browse list to update itself, because that surely wasn't the entire network.. then it was gone. Yup the connection was apparently lost.

Well I couldn't get any further connections. I looked in back at the NIC and sure enough the light was going off for periods of time.. not the blinking sort brought on my regular cable activity. I'd done all I could at the Switch, along with making a mental note to obtain some sort of Cable support to help support that weight... but what if it was the NIC, in fact it couldn't access the network on a working port... soo I phoned Gateway told them the steps I'd taken, and the gracious fellow on the other side offered up "it's probably a dead NIC". Being new theyFed-Exed one out, which I can install Monday.

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by Carol In reply to .. and then the mama bear ...

Naturally I'm wondering if just reseating the current NIC will help or, did I truly test everything methodically...and most importantly.. how long do you spose I'll feel the breath on my right shoulder?

...Would love to hear any similar experiences.

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Sounds Like Fun !!!

by frozen one In reply to

Welcome to the REAL world ! It seems to me that you're getting all the fun.

First thing you should do is to document the way the whole network works/status, before you make any changes, 'twill save ur a**, believe me.

Next is to make that network map with all the devices and workstations on it, itemize, catalog and test all. This is a time-consuming activity, but if you expect to stay for more than 6 mos. in your position, this is worth the time & effort.

Then, document all your actions, solutions any thing that you do with the network.

You approach the problem really well for a 'newbie' and as every net ad has its own method of analizing/ troubleshooting the network i want you 2 customize ur own. Evry network is unique and evry scenerio has its own solutions, my advise is try to anticipate common problems and bottlenecks before it happens, there are lots of free network troubleshooting software on the net, make do with it, practice and learn before you reccommend a commercial version of it.

It wouldn't hurt though, to request a set of working NIC, a hub or a switch, a bootable HD with NT workstation, win98 & DOS boot, a couple of straight & x-over wires with rj-45 terminals and a laptop to use for testing and contingency planning.

Have fun, bro, Network Administration is one fun stuff, dnt bother with those 'watchers', they dnt know what u do and as long as u blame it on the machines ur safe. he-he-he.

Good luck !

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"Yes" and "until you're proven"

by eBob In reply to

It doesn't "cost" anything to reseat the NIC so give it a spin.

Your shadow (anybody else watch LEXX?) will be with you until they think you've proven yourself.

Here's a couple of other ideas:
1 - Spend the next couple of months documenting the heck out of these networks. As you know, it'll save your bacon. And better yet, it'll be your basis for all sorts of projects in the next couple of years.
2 - Buy a box of standard NICs. Whatever you want as a standard, just make a standard. Buy new PCs without NICs and install them when the PCs come in. If you have laptops, standardise on a PCMCIA card too. Doesn't matter what brand or model as long as it's something you can count on being available and as having O/S support.

Good Luck.

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Save time & buy a ModTap kit ....

by pounder_arthur In reply to First Net Admin Position

I think that we all know that feeling well ..

My advise is to buy yourself a MODTAP KIT. Although a little expensive, ($150), it will pay dividends, in the diagnostic time that it will save you.

Like yourself if I cannot obtain a network connection, (two flashing lights on the network card are a good indication), I automaticall believe that the problem is with the HUB. However since I purchased the ModTap I can plug it into the floor port & then plug the tester into the lead in theNIC - & receive a confidence test report.

Once I'm happy with the line, I then plug my laptop into the NIC HUB & ping a known external source, (using NeoTrace I ping a desired web host i.e. Yahoo), thereby proving the connection - solution then lays with the terminal ...


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by Carol In reply to Save time & buy a ModTap ...

I did buy myself a "PathFinder" from Ideal, which was about $250. It has the central unit with lights for Reversal's / Opens/ Short, MisWires, split pairs, and you can test USOC, or T568A/B, it came with 4 remote units, *but* it's instructions state not to connect it to any active lines.
Sounds like the tool you're talking of is altogether different. I looked up MODAP, on the web, but not sure which MODAP product you're referring to, sounds interesting.
Actually last night I was up (all night) trying to complete a Visual Basic Project (a remaining school requirement), and watching bids at ;-). I bought myself a laptop so that I will have a working machine to take to customer sites. Not to mention it'll be a fabulous tool for getting to work on IP maps. With Palm PDAs about $400+ (most folks at the office have them), I felt the $1000 price I got for the laptop P3 700, NIC, CDRW, 10gHD, 128Ram.. was a good purchase, and it'll be great tool for getting started on those IP maps

Another note about that particular NIC, I was working with Friday, had it been a standard NIC, I would have installed a spare... as luck would have it, it was a half-card, with no others to be had.

I wonder if I study like a good student on VB right now (instead of browsing the web).. if I could be so lucky to get that situation resolved bright & early tommorrow. (you don't think so either huh?) ;-)

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