ACCL enter the Premier League of Network Cabling

We all relish a challenge and when ACCL were approached to complete a major network cabling upgrade for a football stadium, how could we resist? A system that had seen a lack of investment and been neglected for 5 years resulted in their network continually falling over, servers going down, poor reception and e-mail crashing, they were constantly fire fighting day in, day out just to keep things working. In a bid to resolve these issues a new Communications Manager was appointed and he made the (very wise 🙂 ) choice of inviting our company to get involved. The vision of the club was to install a new, fast 10GB network, the only club currently in the UK to go down this route.

Our project was made up of four key stages…phase one at the stadium was to install a new air blown fibre optic cabling ring for the new network to sit on. Phase two involved an audit of the current infrastructure, ascertaining exactly where any faults were, whilst phase three was the re-design, creating a solution to correct any network cabling faults. Phase four saw the implementation and installation of the new comms. cabinets, new core network and cable management upgrade as well as recovery of the old patching system and new patching.  An upgrade was indeed well overdue and to put into some context, 2000 cables needed de-commissioning and re-installing….and all having to be completed over a weekend to ensure minimal down time.

Our best team of engineers were deployed, six of them in total…….Greg and Simon our Northern contingent, Mark and Andy, our Southern lads and last but by no means least our very own Managing Director Wayne Connors and Project Manager Steve Lawrence. Arriving Friday afternoon with no time for a Stadium tour or a quick kick about, the teams got stuck straight into the job. Working from 4pm until 11pm on the Friday, and with an eye rubbing 8am start on the Saturday, there was no time for chewing the fat!  Another 2 long days ensued, 6 men, split into 3 teams, working in 4 Comm’s Rooms, and up to their eyeballs in cabling with, I think it’s fair to say, some pretty nifty footwork going on, although actually maybe not all of it pretty…!

Dealing with a system that was 10 years old that had some poor repair work done 5 years ago did not make the task easy, that’s for sure!  Kinks, bends or breaks in your cabling will cause you all manner of problems, to say their network cabling had been neglected was an understatement, the boys definitely had their work cut out…..!

Before ~ a tidy up well overdue!

Where to start…? As the boss, Wayne explained, it was a bit like climbing Everest, one step at a time, only this had to be tackled one cable at a time. Each patch lead needing to be unplugged and individually documented, not an easy task looking at the ‘before’ pictures! Do it wrong and it throws everything else out….no pressure then!

Throughout the whole weekend we recorded the progress of our work and have decided that it is worth sharing our experience with a wider audience in the hope that they may a) hear the warning bells…and review their own system or B) find some amusement from 6 grown men scratching their heads a lot!!  Watch it here and let us know what you think!

If there is a valuable lesson to be learned from this experience, it’s that it definitely pays to maintain your Network cabling, opting for annual cable health checks, ensuring the smooth running of your business, prevention is always better than cure….

Clash of the 2 Tonnes………the verdict!

Six months have passed since the decision was made to do an ACCL team diet, the idea being that if we worked together we had more chance of success, supporting each other through those tough days when only a bacon butty was going to hit the spot…encouraging and praising each other…. 2 lessons I’ve learnt here, 1) don’t decide anything whilst under the influence of alcohol and 2) the only thing you should do as a group is hug 🙂 or, better still, get drunk….! Well, what a journey we’ve been on eh?? A long and somewhat bumpy road (bumpier for some) In the beginning morale was high, positivity flowing from every pore, how infuriatingly naive I was…when I read back over week one, I was annoyingly positive, for my part talking about losing 10lbs, jeez! what planet was I on??!  If it had been £10 I would have outdieted the best of them 🙂

OK, time to ‘fess up…..I have managed to lose on this entire 6 month journey a staggering 1 pound!!!! Yaayy 🙂 You may snigger, yes I know, some poo’s weigh more than that!! I did say early on that me and my willpower have a very rocky relationship…fair to say we are no longer speaking 🙂 but  I can  take comfort from the fact that at least I didn’t GAIN weight, and to be honest it’s through some divine intervention that that is infact not the case….! I have scoured the internet looking for ‘Onion Rings Anonymous’ as I now appreciate I am in the throes of an addiction…My journey hasn’t finished (let’s be honest, did it even begin?!) The only good thing about this rubbish British summer is that I have not had to put my body in a bikini…..(there is a God!)

Poor Sally, a bit like myself, has struggled with this whole diet malarkey, the only thing she has lost (apart from her dignity on occasion :-)!!) is tyre rubber from furiously peddling her bike around the woods! Any possible weight loss brought on by the frantic exercise regime has been offset by copious amounts of alcohol, vast quantities of bread, cheese and basically anything unhealthy she’s been able to lay her hands on! The lesson to be learnt here is that exercise makes you hungry 🙂

As with all things, moderation is the key to success…! She’s not been weighing herself (she found it just too depressing) so is unable to give me the end result, the fact that her clothes are still tight would indicate that it wasn’t a roaring success for her either…..We may just go out for a  slap up meal with lots of alcohol to take the edge off of the disappointment we feel…. 🙂

Dee had started brilliantly, even if she did have a slight head start over the rest of us, beginning her diet ‘journey’ back in October. In fact, thinking about it, she was doing really well up til the point she joined the team ACCL diet…..! The last few months when I’ve asked for an update, I’ve had the now infamous phrase “I will start next Monday”!!!  She has been struggling to get back in the ‘zone’ (since about February isn’t it mate :-)???) Maybe it’s the weather? we can’t just blame a loss of willpower, can we…?!  to be fair to her, she has been struggling with a bad back for the past few weeks, you can’t diet when you feel poorly, comfort food should ALWAYS be on hand to lift the mood in such times of distress!  If the weather HAD been nice and she didn’t have the bad back she’d be outside working in the garden, furiously digging and planting like Charlie Dimmock on acid (with the bra ON I hope Dee??!!)

As it is with the weather being so rubbish and feeling poorly, what else is a girl to do other than sit indoors and eat cake 🙂 ? when she does finally get into the garden (IF we ever see a Summer…) she fears she may look a little like Pavarotti in the Park, her own harsh words, but I see where she’s coming from *sniggers behind hand* Anyway, to conclude, the result of the dieting has seen her still a stone lighter than she was this time last year, still with the goal of losing another half a stone…….but not today……….starting next Monday…… 🙂 !!!!

The only proper success I can report (and it pains me to say this…!) is the only man on the journey, and the one with the most weight to lose! Wayne has now completed his Lighter Life diet, coming in at a staggering 6 STONE lighter 🙂 Come on, you’ve got to hand it to him, that’s pretty impressive! He is a lege in my eyes  🙂  …! He’s looking pretty good too, not quite George Clooney good, but the smaller frame definitely suits him 🙂 His re-introduction to the world of proper food has been slow…. he would probably disagree (because he is in denial 🙂 ) but gruel had almost become his comfort blanket 🙂 He actually told me he is going to miss the diet???!! Tell me those are the words of a sane man??! I reckon they’re adding more than essential vitamins and minerals to those sachets, if you get my drift… 😉 *nudge, nudge, wink, wink*!!  Thankfully he didn’t resort to snorting it (as far as I know!)

So, for Wayne a roaring success and a smug look on his face, for us girls it’s a case of must try harder 🙂