I've been crawling around in our crawlspace for the last week or so, trying to clean up our networking. I long ago bought a structured media enclosure for the crawlspace that is right next to the access door, but it hasn't really seen active use apart from the coax cable junction.
Until this week. When I decided to actually terminate the network cabling at a proper punch-down patch board, and actually mount the network switch properly in the cabinet rather than have it randomly dangling from all the cables.
I'm a horrible network engineer, so when things go wrong, I just assume I wired something badly. But it turns out that just because I suck at wiring, doesn't necessarily mean that somebody else doesn't suck even more. So far I've had three disasters while redoing the networking, but none of them actually turned out to be due to me wiring things wrong.
First I tried to figure out why one of my UniFi AC access points simply would not connect at gigabit speeds. It would show up as "Connected (100 FDX)" in the UniFi control applet, and I just couldn't figure out why.
Now, it doesn't really matter - the 100Mbps connection to the AP is perfectly fine, but it just annoyed the hell out of me that my newly done cable to the mudroom ceiling would be limited to 100Mb speeds.
It turns out that what looked like 100% identical PoE injectors weren't. The cabling was fine, but one of the AC Lite AP's had come with a GP-A240-050 adapter, while the other one was a GP-A240-050G. That "G" was what made one connect at gigabit speeds while the other didn't.
While debugging that, I noticed that my office only connected at 100Mbps too. No PoE adapter there, but I had changed that cable to come in through a punch-down patch board too, so I re-did the punch-down because clearly I must have screwed up. No change.
It turns out that apparently I had never connected at gigabit speeds in the first place, because the cable from the wall to the switch in my office was to blame. And it wasn't even one of the cables I had made myself, so it was just about the last thing I decided to test.
And yesterday, I cleaned up the closet where all this crawlspace activity actually comes out to the cable modem, and in the process our phone stopped working. I haven't done phone wiring before, but how the hell could I screw up a single pair? That takes a special kind of skill - the "short bus" kind of special.
Our crawlspace phone wiring is a huge mess, with an ungodly mix of the old-style black-red-green-yellow wiring, and more modern CAT5/UTP wiring. I'm used to the 568A/B confusion, but have never really done BRGY before, so I checked and re-checked my connections and couldn't find the problem.
In the end, I knew everything but the new keystone jack had worked at an earlier point, and I just decided that the punch-down must have failed. That RJ25 jack really looked questionable anyway, not at all like the quality RJ45 jacks I'm used to from doing networking.
So I went to Home Depot and got a new jack with proper color-coded punch downs around the sides, and now our phone works again.
So now everything works, the closet that has our cable modems looks clean and has a proper shelf for the modems rather than having them hanging by the cables coming out of the wall, and I'm mostly happy.
Except now that I've done the telephone cable thing, and have a proper punch down panel in the media enclosure, I have a hankering for fixing the phone cables in the crawlspace too.
Because right now all the phone jacks connect to where the phone company used to bring in the wire probably 20 years ago, way in the back of the crawl. And I could instead just get it to all connect in that proper panel that I now have...
I'm just not sure how much more time I want to spend in that crawl space. Even if it would be for a good cause.