I'm an entry level IT technician at my new job. It's a small office of
14 computers, 13 of which are networked together.
My boss wants to get wireless ethernet as insurance in case of a lightning strike/hurricane/undetermined vague reasons.
This would mean removing the ethernet altogether to protect against lightning strikes.
I think he should just get an apcc lightning thing with ethernet jacks.
Ethernet is reliable as a network correct? Do we really need a wireless network for a small office? To me it seems like my boss is just listening to people trying to sell the latest and greatest thing.
You can have both connected at the same time. See: |
ethernet route is used because the "cost" of the connection is less than the "cost" of the wireless. If the ethernet pukes, then wireless just takes over. At worst, all the user need to is unplug the ethernet connector.
Sigh. Ethernet is protected to about 1500 volts common mode. That should take care of any indirect lightning hits. It's not grounded so you don't need to worry about ground loops (unless you use shielded CAT5). Nothing will protect against a direct hit.
It's far more reliable than wireless. It's also much less of a security risk if the wireless network is compromised by an evil wireless hacker (like me).
No. At best it's redundant. At worst, it's a security risk, configuration problem, and is much slower than 100baseT.
How's your disaster recovery backup system? How quickly can you recover from your choice of disaster? Have you actually tested your disaster recovery plan? Does the building have a lightning rod on the roof? Are all the inside pipes and light fixtures properly grounded? Are the phones protected against lightning or will the boss also suggest cordless phones?
If lightning is really an issue, methinks prevention is a more appropriate prophylactic. Consulting a minister or rabbi for the necessary prayers or incantation to prevent or redirect the lightning might be more effective.
It's not going to help with a hurricane and likely won't survive a lightning strike.
I think he should get a chill pill and find something important to worry about.
Only if someone needs to move around the office with a connected computer for some reason.
I think that if this is something the boss has his heart set on then your best bet is to present your arguments in written form, accept his decision, no matter how loony it is, put all the Ethernet bits in a closet somewhere, and when it blows up in his face and ewerybody ees blamink _you_ pull out your copy of your memo and remind him that you told him so and tell him how long it will take for you to put the Ethernet back.
I agree with others that will tel you this is misguided and add that IMO 14 computers will get really crappy response on a basic wireless network.
As for protection against vague accidents, you need to work with your boss to come up with risk-cost assessment, starting with identifying critical business activities and planning for steps to be taken to keep the company running if, for instance, Martians instantly make all your PCs and network disappear.
Don't fixate on specific equipment failures. Reality is *much* more creative than you or your boss is.
Do you think that silly little APCC device will stop or absorb what three miles of sky could not stop? That is the myth they promote. It is routine to sufferent direct lightning strikes and not suffer damage. But that means you first understand the pinciples as originally demonstrated by Franklin in 1752.
Lightning seeks earth ground. Either it is earthed before it enters the building, or it finds destructive paths through electronics. Your task is to earth lightning before it can overwhelm protection already inside appliances. That 1500 volts is part of protectcion already inside networked devices. You don't stop, block, or absorb such surges. You earth them so that that 1500 volt galvanic isolation is not overwhelmed.
One RJ45 type protector is:
the protector does not sit between a surge and electronics. Notice the green ground wire. If that ground wire makes a 'less than
10 foot' connection to the building 'single point earth ground', then the transient is earthed before it can find electronics. The protector is not the same thing as protection. A protector is simply a connection to protection. Protection is the single point earthing electrode. Buildings without earthing that meets and exceeds post 1990 NEC requirements typically have no effective protection.
What happens when lightning strikes building one? One possible path to earth is down the interconnected ethernet wire, through electronics in that other building, and then out to earth. Protection methods are so well proven as to be standard everywhere in town. All buildings connect to the telco's multimillion computer that must never be damaged. How do they also protect that computer? Do they shutdown during thunderstorms? Of course not. They also earth every incoming wire via a protector and long before that wire connects to the computer. You simply need do same that the telco has been doing for almost 100 years.
We have been discuss> I'm an entry level IT technician at my new job. It's a small office of
The ethernet route is used because the "cost" of the connection is
but you would probably still need Ethernet to tie everything together, like your server(s), WAN connection and so on. So all you are protecting is the PCs. However - if you get hit i suggest you probably prefer to fry a PC rather than your main file server.
Maybe you need to give everyone a laptop with wireless - that way during a storm you dont need the power feed either as long as it doesnt last too long....
a colleague actually got a "hit" from a phone on a long line extension from another building during a lightning storm 20 years ago - all he got was a kick as his muscles spasmed.
The phones all had surge protectors which might be why he was still walking.....
or just move the firm to somewhere you dont get lightning very often?
A friend and long-time colleague of mine is the Dean of Engineering at Santa Clara University (a Jesuit institution here in Silly-con Valley). We were discussing new, innovative class offerings in networking; I suggested a joint seminar between the Engineering and Theology departments, titled "The Use of Prayer as a Network Management tool." It got a good chuckle.
-- Rich Seifert Networks and Communications Consulting 21885 Bear Creek Way (408) 395-5700 Los Gatos, CA 95033 (408) 228-0803 FAX
Not really. You could install wireless cards in your servers. There are also cable and DSL modems that have built in wireless. It could be done all wireless if you really want that.
If I get hit, I would go up in a puff of smog, not the file server. However, if your goal is to electrically isolate each machine from anything that might get hit by lightning, you could run fiber between the office ethernet switch and the file server, which would offer some protection.
Good idea. If you're giving out laptops, I could use a new one. Just one problem. How do I charge the battery without risking getting hit by lightning through the power lines? Solar powered chargers?
Perhaps some protective clothing might be useful. A medieval all metal armour suit of plate or chain mail might work but seems a bit clumsy. Perhaps one of those foil covered fire protection suits:
stun gun protective clothing might dissipate the charge:
a tin foil hat would work if properly grounded to a conductive shoe heel plate.
Well, my non-denominational brand of network troubleshooting largely ignores the benefits of the established religions and is based on a much older system. When difficulties arise, I prepare burnt offerings of an old 286 or 386 motherboard on the hibachi. The smoke is known to please the computer gods. Burnt offerings have worked for thousands of years and continue to be a major tool my networking toolbox. Human sacrific is only needed if my invoice isn't paid promptly.
Similarly, it is often necessary to exorcize the network to evict evil spirits and daemons, especially when the system is acting in an erratic and devious manner. Verbal oaths and threats of dismemberment to the component level almost always results in a more cooperative network. Never mind talking to the network. Yell at it.
Remedies for specific problems such as embalming to reduce the damage caused by packet fragmentation are useful. Scribbling prayers and incantations on pieces of paper works as well when stuffed into unused Ethernet ports as it does in the Wailing Wall.
It appears that you have the necessary material for a class or perhaps another book. However, I would generalize the topic as "Alternative Methods of Network Management and Troubleshooting".
In comp.dcom.lans.ethernet Johhny Blogger wrote in part:
Well, disaster recovery is an important consideration, but wireless isn't the solution. Regular data backups, offsite storage, and spare equipment is far more important.
Unless you are running it interbuilding/outdoors, ethernet isn't much of a lightning risk. Sure, ports and cards die or mysterious reasons, but that's why you keep spares.
Having a competant electrician check out your building's wiring and ground system is probably more important than these devices. Remote (userstation) surge protectors are _far_ less effective that proper building protection.
In comp.dcom.lans.ethernet Rich Seifert wrote in part:
Why not? Deities have been invoked from time immemorial to bless man's artifices and machinery. Perhaps increasingly important given the vagueries of computing machinery.
Prayer appears ideal for network management. It is completely "out of band", except for the netadmin endpoint. Unfortunately, PEBKAC is a frequent root cause so the ACK and reply packets would not be properly decoded in spite of holy ECC :)
However, I strongly suspect the course would be too taxing for the Theology Dept. The Jesuits would immediately encounter their thorny omnipotent-omniscient-omnibenevolent trilemma.
I assumed that only works for appeasing the Lord of the Rings. I have a small pile of those nifty DEC boards that did both ethernet and token ring, badly. Sorta a universal network cure for I've also been saving some tokens in /dev/null for the inevitable day when the worlds supply of tokens runs out.
I do have a large box of assorted Microchannel boards that I ritualistically immolate when faced with uncooperative IBM networks or uncooperative IBM sales representatives. If the smoke from the burning boards doesn't get higher management somewhat higher, the smoke from the 2kg of accompanying documentation and packaging should at least get their attention.
For wireless and FSO (free space optics), the procedures are somewhat different. The smoke from the burnt offerings adds attenuation and interferes with wireless propagation.
none of the commercial wireless and FSO products really function as expected or as advertised, I can only assume that the required rituals have not been discovered and codified. Meanwhile, this might help:
On Tue, 18 Jul 2006 22:33:48 GMT, Jeff Liebermann wrote in :
The ethernet route is used because the "cost" of the connection is
I second the motion. Gives you the best of both worlds. I've done this for myself, friends and clients. Just be sure to fully secure the wireless network.
The assumption that wired is more secure that wireless isn't necessarily valid. Way too many switches and hubs aren't physically secured. I know of a case where a "foreign" laptop was found in a wiring closet merrily gathering data. Never did find out who did it. Moral: Wired networks also need to be secured.
I once did a "security audit". The wireless bridge was secure as far as I could tell, mostly because literally everything was proprietary, undocumented, and unfathomable. However, I walked the ethernet down the pipe and into an easy to open phone closet on the floor below. I plugged my handy hub/tap/sniffer into the line and I was looking at unencrypted packets with Ethereal. The IT guys were shocked. We later discovered that none of their network management software could detect that I had quickly unplugged and reinserted the ethernet cable. Of course the closet was not on anyones burglar alarm system.
A few years before that, I sat in the lobby of a large corporation. I noticed a CAT5 receptacle on the wall next to my chair. So, I plugged in with my laptop, was handed a DHCP assigned IP, successfully guessed a login and password, and was merrily snooping around their network when the IT guy arrived. We later found live and unsecured ports all over the offices and factory, many of which were outside accessible.
Yep. Physical security is a big problem.
 The company bought me lunch and sorta hinted that they had something for me to look at. The idea was that I wasn't suppose to send them a bill since this wasn't an "official" service call. Sigh.
I know you were joking, but it might be worth pointing out that all these ideas would considerably increase your danger in real life. Humans mostly survive lightening strikes because the current is conduced over our skin. Metal objects in contact with it stop this action and channel the power through into teh body organs.
Or you could stand on a hilltop in a thunderstorm, wearin copper armour, and shouting "all the gods are bast...." bzzrt