Soon our new offices in Mongstad will be ready, and it has been very fun seeing it go from an empty shell – to an awesome office filled with technology and activity. One of the projects I have been responsible for, was coordinating, designing and setting up the new fiber connection. There is no connection in the building from before, so our delivery partner BKK Fiber has to install a completely new connection. So, I have been following the process from stone-age to 50+/50+ fiber connection with proper patching and security. (Some photos left out due to security reasons).

BKK had to “blow” the cables into the connection underground, since there is no way anyone can connect the cables manually (like with ADSL). Form there they put a steel pipe through the building so that the cable would be protected from any type of harm. The terminated it into our mini-server room – and this is how it looked:

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We also had an electrician doing the power supply to the server room, as well as laying the cat6 ethernet cables. I were considering doing this myself, but since he was already doing the cable channels for the power – he did everything. Here they are all working on the hardware:

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There is a lot of cables going into the walls! A total of 24 ports is available in the switch, and most of them are going out into the office space:

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After the cables are connected and the test-IP is entered – they test the connection to the nearest node and from there out to the world wide web:

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As you can see from the test result – it is very high. They had to put a device in to slow the traffic, so that it showed below -11.
One they were done, we could finally start patching all the cat6 cables into our patch. A patch is much like the phone connectors in old days – with the nice ladies connecting your call. Today it is all ones and zeroes.

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Most of the hands on labour has up until now been done by the BKK specialists and electricians – but finally it is my turn to go to work! In the cabinet I had to mount the patch panel (see picture above), and the switch. The switch is the panel that looks like the patch, but actually takes the LAN signal from the firewall and distributes it to all the different ports (i.e. computers on the network). The firewall also needed to be set up, with the correct IP and gateway. without going into too much detail, I had to set up two LAN networks – one for the switch and one for the guest network. In the future I might also need to separate the switch into two cabled networks – improving the security and separating the forensics machines from the more unsecure machines. No machines were put on the DMZ though, even if I had some troubles with the firewall and playing the stream on VLC. After a lot of headaches trying to find out what was wrong with my new firewall – I learned that the streaming problem in VLC actually was caused by my McAfee Firewall initially placing my new network connection as “Public”. When I noticed this huge blunder – I changed it to a trusted network and boom – VLC and future lectures are back up and running like a charm!

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So what did it look like in the end..?

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Supercool! At least I think so. I put in some LED lights that change colour, and also I bought some orange patch cables to match our company logo and the rack itself. But – as you can see the rack is a bit crowded, and with some servers coming – I severely miscalculated the need for space. However, we designed it so that there can be a second rack on top.

And also, I am a bit proud that I have actually made everything work perfectly – considering network is really not my field of speciality.