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Cables, Connections, Coworkers, And Coats

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: JoeDonFan | July 12, 2021

This was back in the 1980s when offices weren’t designed with network cabling in mind and you could still smoke in the office.

I had a user in the office portion of our warehouse whose network connection started cutting out between 9:00 and 9:10 am, every morning, starting in November. Sometimes it would come back; sometimes it wouldn’t. It was really weird. I swapped the NIC with a known good one (mine); my unit stayed connected while the user’s continued to cut out. I swapped out the CPU; I rebuilt her hard drive and loaded and reloaded drivers downloaded at a million dollars a minute… and no go.

One morning, I was at her desk, waiting for the network connection to die, when I watched a coworker walk in (he started later than everyone else, at nine) and hang his coat on the coat rack next to the door. A few moments later, the connection dropped.

I looked at the coat rack and then at the floor, and I noticed a network cable under one of the legs of the coat rack. I managed to lift the rack just enough to slide the cable out from under the rack, and the connection came back up. It seems the sixth coat on the rack was just enough to pull the cable out of the nearby rack and drop her connection.

Just to be safe, I replaced her cable and anchored it to the baseboard with antenna clips. We never had a problem again.