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…..!
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….