May 3rd, 2009

A fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

I spent last Sunday at the NTC Day of Service in San Francisco, helping install wireless Internet access in the St. Anthony's building in the Tenderloin. Mostly this involved plugging in a wireless access point and getting it affixed to the ceiling. There were 20 volunteers and only 6 APs to install, so we were just a little overstaffed. :)

But imagine my delight when we discovered that we needed to run an Ethernet cable from the fourth floor down to a switch in the network closet on the first floor. Much climbing around and poking cables through floors and ceilings ensued! With the help of a ladder, I made my way up inside a tiny closet to grab our precious cable and route it down, neatly alongside all the hundreds of other cables to its destination. I was thoroughly covered in dust and quite satisfied.

This picture is taken looking straight up inside the closet. That white and blue string hanging down is what we used to pull the cable from floor to floor. The other end of that string, which is up and behind the other bundle of blue cables, is where our cable came out at the top of the closet, about 14 feet up.

I routed our cable out and over the air duct to the left side of the closet...

...then all the way down, using lots of those handy little velcro straps to keep it running neatly along a bundle of other cables... the patch panel you see here. And presto... wireless access ensued.

I could kind of see myself doing volunteer networking jobs for fun more often. I do like my job at Google, but I never get to climb anything at work. :)