Faster Than The Speed Of Nothing

| Working | March 1, 2017

(I’m an industrial automation technician, so I do know a fair share about computers and networks. However, I’m not “IT”, so for them, I’m just another clueless user. I work in an industrial manufacture that is 5km away from the other office where the local IT tech resides. And to top it off, the main offices are 200km away. A few months earlier, the IT team came over from the main office to spend a weekend upgrading equipment and stuff while the production was halted. The very next Monday, everybody around notices that everything on the network seems to be a lot slower than usual. We pretty much all figure that the upgrade isn’t fully done and give them some more time. A few of us complain verbally to the IT department, but it falls on deaf ears. Things are getting worse and worse. I finally have enough so I write an e-mail to the IT leader.)

Me: “This is getting ridiculous. The network is way slower since you upgraded the switches. It takes me over 30 seconds to log a remote desktop session to [Computer A], while I logged in within 5 seconds before whatever you did two months ago. Once I’m in, it’s fast.”

IT Department: “We did nothing. We changed Internet providers. In fact, the new one is way faster than the old one.”

(Along is a print screen of an Internet speed test. I do the same test and have the same results. I write back, including my print screen, but also movies captured with my phone to show how slow things are.)

Me: “I’m not complaining about the speed of the Internet, but the speed of the intranet. That PC I log with remote desktop is located under my feet, in the server room. It shouldn’t take 40 seconds to log-on to. I can’t even download a PDF from the web. After two minutes, it’s still stuck at 80%, while I get it in 12 seconds with my phone.”

IT Department: “It’s probably a problem with your PC. I’ll ask [Local IT Tech] to go have a look.”

Me: “Well, in that case, [Coworker #1] and [Coworker #2] and [Coworker #3] and [Coworker #4] and [Supervisor] and [Manager] have the same issues, and that’s only those around me. I can’t say for other departments, but I’m pretty sure they have the same issues.”

(Unknown to me, my manager has had the same idea of recording his logging session into another remote desktop session, to no answer from IT. Two weeks later, no change, and no visit from [Local IT Tech]. I’ve had a chance to talk to everybody, and they all have the same issues. So, instead of sending an e-mail to the IT leader, I go through the “proper channels” and open a service ticket, stating that every PC at the mill are having similar issues. The next day, [Local IT Tech] is there. My PC is the first target. Within the time she is on it, at least three other people ask her to have a look at their PC when she is done with mine, because theirs too is slow. Two hours later, still on my PC:)

Local IT Tech: “Well, I don’t know. Everything seems fine.”

Me: “No, it’s not. Is it possible that there’s a bad configuration in a switch, or a hub somewhere?”

(I couldn’t believe I was troubleshooting the IT department.)

Local IT: *through closed lips, as if not allowed to say it* “Well, I think [IT Leader] did changed some security protocols.”

(I suggested they have a look at their configuration. She didn’t look at any other PC. Three days later, all of a sudden, everything is fast again.)

Boss: “Well, [My Name], seems your complaints gave some results. Everything is fast again.”

Me: “Well, IT said they did nothing in the first place. They found nothing wrong on my computer. So technically, they fixed nothing by un-doing nothing. Are they really getting paid to do nothing?”

Boss: “I… I prefer not to answer that.”

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