Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Networking IT

CERN Engineers Have To Identify and Disconnect 9,000 Obsolete Cables ( 169

An anonymous reader writes: CERN, home to the Large Hadron Collider, has grand plans to update the world's largest particle accelerator complex in the next few years. But engineers have identified a barrier to the upgrade: there's no space for new cables in the injectors that accelerate particles before they enter the LHC. In the past, when parts of the accelerators have been upgraded or added to, engineers would often additionally replace the cables that connected them. In the process, they would leave in place the old cables that were no longer in use. Now, a heap of obsolete cables are blocking the way to install new ones needed for the accelerator’s next big upgrade. To make space, CERN engineers have set out to identify and remove the old, unused cables. All 9,000 of them.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

CERN Engineers Have To Identify and Disconnect 9,000 Obsolete Cables

Comments Filter:
  • Market idea (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @10:50AM (#51381531)

    Sell them to audiophiles. You have a limited supply of cables used in a unique, world-class esoteric application. That's a perfect match for people with deep pockets and shallow skulls.

    • by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @10:55AM (#51381567)

      Sell them to audiophiles. You have a limited supply of cables used in a unique, world-class esoteric application. That's a perfect match for people with deep pockets and shallow skulls.

      Oh yeah, oh yeaah! Here's the hook. Since the cables have been bombarded by high energy particles, they've had all of their atoms lined up in a manner which results in less frequency domain delay, and a purity of sound unmatched by mere normal cables.

      That and special gold plated fuses, zebrawood knobs and those special rocks will give you a kickass audio system.

      • Re:Market idea (Score:4, Informative)

        by DutchUncle ( 826473 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @11:10AM (#51381687)
        Didn't the Moody Blues buy a lot of very expensive multitrack analog tape recorders from NASA to outfit a recording studio . . . which became obsolete just a few years later when digital took over?
      • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @11:36AM (#51381909) Journal

        Whenever the discussion turns to audiophiles, I have to post my favorite audiophile gear of all, the $150 cable elevator. (currently on sale for $119, but on back-order) []

        "By moving cables away from surrounding surfaces the negative dielectric field interaction is completely removed, preserving the delicate audio signal's purity. "

      • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @11:36AM (#51381913)

        I am reminded of the days of wire-wrap circuit boards. hunders of wires in a few colors at most forming a rats nest of interconnects on the back. All done by hand from post to post where you had to count pins by eye to find the right post each time. Chance of 100% correct wiring was geometrically vanishing.

        The problem was not discovering the connections you had failed to make (which is easily done with a continuity tester) but finding the connections that were mistakenly wired the wrong pins.

        So what you did was go find a filament transformer (these were high current low voltage transformers used to power the filaments in tubes). then you put one probe on one pin, and another probe on every other pin it was not supposed to be connected to. This is not as complex as it sounds since normally one pin is not connected to more than 3 or 5 other pins. So once you eliminate those, you can just slide the probe along the sides of all the other socket pins.

        The current was so large that even a momentary connection would vaporize the wire if it was incorrectly wired. A continuity tester would not have worked well because the response time for the human to test all N^2 connections and look at the continuity tester was too long.

        • by Agripa ( 139780 )

          A continuity tester would not have worked well because the response time for the human to test all N^2 connections and look at the continuity tester was too long.

          I am not sure what continuity tester you have experience with but all of my digital multimeters going back 20+ years produce a tone in addition to a reading on the display and respond within milliseconds. Running the test lead along a string of contacts or pins and listening works fine with them.

      • Your sound quality is degraded? Oh, the cables are probably jammed up with Higgs boson particles. Unplug the cables, shake them a few times, then reconnect them, making sure the connection is secure on each end. That cleared it up? Yeah, I figured it would.
      • by kyrsjo ( 2420192 )

        Said bombardment might also have transformed the cables into low-level radioactive waste...

      • Since the cables have been bombarded by high energy particles,....

        ...they are now likely to be slightly activated and so radioactive. I'd not want cables which have been in a high intensity environment like the injectors in my house. While much of the activity is short lived because it involves light elements (we used to have to wait about an hour after beam before we could go anywhere near the upper end of a fixed target experiment I used to work on in the north area of CERN) copper is a heavier element and so likely to have longer lived activity.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      With so many cables, is CERN reinventing the web ?

      • by mikael ( 484 )

        Yes, looks like they are going to need to hire contractors to do cable-jiggling. I worked in a company that was replacing their old funky official yellow and blue ethernet cables with vampire taps. Staff had to go round in pairs in order to slowly replace the network. One jiggled the cable that was being removed from inside the eaves, basement or the attic of the building, then the other disconnected it and tied string to the end, so that they could then haul the new cable across.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    9000 cable... and no labeling

    • Sounds like my rack.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Sadly, I was thinking the same thing... might be time to get started doing that before I also have 9000 cables to identify and remove... :P
      • Re:Amazing... (Score:5, Informative)

        by greenfruitsalad ( 2008354 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @11:36AM (#51381911)

        i use patchsee cables. a bit more expensive but you'll NEVER disconnect the wrong cable again. you get a specially shaped torch which you shine at 1 end of the cable and the other end lights up. the torch has 2 modes - stable light and flashing.

        there are other brands (e.g. evo6, belden) doing similar things but they tend to be overpriced and overly complicated (cable with its own buttons and batteries in jack boot).

        • Sounds great, except:
          - Are the cables transparent along a run of 100 meters or more? I doubt it.
          - Do they STAY transparent for thirty years?

          That's the case with CERN: long old cables, covered in dust. Some are probably quite brittle from heat or radiation damage.

          • Re:Amazing... (Score:4, Informative)

            by greenfruitsalad ( 2008354 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @02:58PM (#51383601)

            patchsee cables aren't transparent. they have 2 strands of optic fibre running from one end to the other. you shine into one end, light comes out of the other (no need to even disconnect the cable). the longest patchsee cables i've seen were 30 metres. i don't think they make longer ones.

    • Re:Amazing... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @11:06AM (#51381647)

      9000 cable... and no labeling

      Sadly this is common...

      As a lab manager I had to institute a rule that ANY cable that didn't have a label was going to be removed when found with no warning. Any cable which was incorrectly labeled, was subject to be connected to what the label said, or if that wasn't possible, the label would be removed and then the cable was pulled for not being labeled. Label content was defined and all where trained on how to make proper labels, and retrained when they came to ask why their system suddenly stopped working.

      Maintaining a lab is a daily discipline, like cleaning house. You have to pick up after yourself as you go along or at the end of the day the mess is huge. Hey, where you born in a barn? Your Mom doesn't work here, clean up your mess!

      • As a lab manager I had to institute a rule that ANY cable that didn't have a label was going to be removed when found with no warning.

        Back in the day of floppy disks we had a similar rule. If the disk wasn't important enough to justify a label it was to be considered blank. I feel the same way about labeling cables. If you aren't disciplined about this stuff it can get really out of hand really fast.

        • There are plenty of cable routing/tracking tools that are used for design and construction of facilities. Its fairly simple but does require discipline to use it even if they decide to change a cable route or type, etc. But if they had done it right, they'd know already which cables in place can be re-used for some of the future needs.
          • by kyrsjo ( 2420192 )

            As described in the article, they have such tools, but the facility has been remodeled many times over the 60 years it has been in operation so the database is no longer 100% accurate. The database is therefore useful to check which cables *may* be redundant, but one still has to check...

        • by mikael ( 484 )

          There was a reason they used to call the underfloor cabling in a machine room, the "snake pit". It was impressive. You lifted up a floor tile with a spike clamp, and there are hundreds of cables of all lengths and colors just stretched, coiled and bundled up together.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @11:28AM (#51381849)

        They are all colour coded... All grey ones are cables.

      • I had to clean up a network development lab one time. Because the engineers didn't have 15' cables to connect equipment in opposite rows, they used 100' cables with the excess going up into the overhead rack. That was a bear to pull out and replace with proper cables.
        • LOL, yea we had those kind of issues too. Good luck, it's never easy and if the problem has been let go very long, it can be a LOT of work to get things back in order. I almost just gutted the lab over the Winter holiday break once, roll everything out into the hall and bring it back in one piece at a time.... Sometimes it's just easier to just rip it all apart and reassemble..

      • by afidel ( 530433 )

        I'm pretty sure you don't randomly pull cables on the $B high energy machine, it's liable to either break the expensive toy or make it go bang in interesting ways. I do get your point about a need for discipline though =)

        • by orlanz ( 882574 )

          You hear this all the time in any business at all clients. About undocumented access rights, old systems, phone numbers, applications, etc. My response has been: "Its going to fail, accept it. Do you want it to happen randomly and you have no idea what happened. Or do you want it to happen predictably and you know why." Sadly many pick the former because "it hasn't happened yet."

      • geez.. the jobâ(TM)s no done til you clean up after yourselves.

        its like those bad designers that leave al. sorts of unused mislabelled layers in a file.

        install the new, remove the cruft. maintain a clean system.

        • Cable work is often times contracted out. One contractor makes a bid including the time to remove the old cabling even though it isn't specced, another contractor leaves the work to remove the cabling out because it isn't specced. The lower bid is accepted and funded.

          The customer then asks the winning contractor why didn't remove the cables, Response "Not in the requirements". Customer then goes back for additional funding which is denied and the old cabling never gets removed. Seen it happen many times

      • Re:Amazing... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by DoctorNathaniel ( 459436 ) <nathaniel.tagg@g[ ] ['mai' in gap]> on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @01:34PM (#51382921) Homepage

        Yes, but there's a point that doesn't work any more. The original injectors at CERN are more than thirty years old; some sites are probably 40 or 50. You find me a cheap and effective way of labelling cables that doesnt' fall apart over that time span...

        • They have regular periods of maintenance and when you inspect the cables if you see the labels are becoming worn then you replace them. You don't need to have labels that last 50 years. You just need to do your maintenance properly.

      • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

        Any cable which was incorrectly labeled, was subject to be connected to what the label said

        Good thing you didn't have network cables labeled "mains"...

      • Sadly this is common...

        Dealing with this right now. Wiring an 80 foot carbon fiber sailboat, I think I'm about the 6th electrician that has worked on this.

        Bundles of wires about half a foot in diameter, all unlabeled, all white until you cut the outer insulation off. I see why the last several quit after a few weeks.

        None of this makes any sense. One of them somehow thought 4 gauge cable would be enough to run 500 amps over 60 feet. The wire chases are under the deck which has already been glued on years ago, there is no access to

        • If nobody kept the original circuit design laying around, just set fire to boat then drill holes in bottom to put out the flames and Abandon Ship!

          Of course you could keep taking the owner's money for years too....

          • No diagrams, the other guy working with me on this /was/ doing the diagrams since we're pretty much making most of this up on the fly depending on what fits in with what the carpenters are doing and have figured out what most of the stuff goes to.

            Owner said he didn't want to pay him to make wiring diagrams, wasted of money/time we could spend on the boat. At least we have most of it labeled now.

            • The owner's an idiot and will spend many times the wiring diagram's cost trying to maintain this thing, but that's his call.

              Oh well, smile and keep at it until he runs out of cash or you can find another job I guess... Good luck!

      • by dywolf ( 2673597 )

        if they're leaving them in place this often, i must imagine the CERN accelerator's conditions are less like a server room, and more like the wiring harnesses of an aircraft, and so they've been making similar decisions.

        in such packed conditions disconnected cables and wires are frequently left in place (and in aircraft, rarely completely marked because of both too little space and the FOD hazard). the amount of manhours needed to redo an the wiring harnesses to remove a cable every time is simply not worth

    • Re:Amazing... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by andrewbaldwin ( 442273 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @11:25AM (#51381811)

      I don't know for sure but I bet this was part of a penny pinching cost analysis up front.

      I recall when moving to a new site setting aside some time/budget to ensure that every cable was labelled (so, for example, we could trace ethernet from port on switch to patch panel to underfloor cable to floor jack to desk cabling to desk port) and set up a simple database to keep the details.

      Work was killed off by accountants as an expensive luxury, after all cables didn't move often did they?

      Fast forward to a minor flood under the false floor taking out some (but not all) systems. Fortunately some of them were in the finance and commercial group.

      Suddenly it was "why can't you reconnect me NOW??". Money was paid for an 'after the event' recording of wiring by external people (which cost about 5 times the 'saving' up front).

      Still at least it was better than a LONG time ago [Vax and VT220 era] when I saw one person labelling connections by yanking out an RS232 cable from a patch panel, waiting for a call "My terminal's died", asking which room they were in and making up a label and then plugging it back with "I think that may fix it" and getting pathetically grateful responses in return.

    • I wires an office a few years ago and labeled every single network jack, wires going to and from it, the punch down pannel, all the same for the phone and even the wires for the alarm.

      Come back two years later to troubleshoot static in a phone line and someone painted over every single marking not in the wire closet and they were unreadable. To make things worse, they lost the book with the legend and office map showing the routine and locations.

    • 9000 cable... and no labeling

      They have angered the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and will be punished.

  • by aaarrrgggh ( 9205 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @10:52AM (#51381551)

    Praise Buddha that removing abandoned cables is now a code requirement in the US. I remember an old server room where the manager wanted to raise the floor 6" so they could fit in more cables. 12" apparently wasn't enough...

    • If you have 12 inches of abandoned cable, you just reclassify it as a 'felted conductor structural element' and never touch it again(unless you are doing some serious renovation, in which case you saw it out in chunks as you would any other solid structural material).
      • Interestingly... Or not... it had flooded so many times that they did eventually need to have a hazmat team decontaminate the space. Ant that is why the stock exchange is now a gym...

  • otherwise someone is in for a long night
  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @11:00AM (#51381609) Homepage
    cern manager: we've disconnected 4 cables...can anyone confirm on the console that these are disconnected?
    cern engineer: nothing new here chief.
    cern researcher: my panini press stopped working.
    cern manager: ok wrong cable
    cern engineer: janice had a panini press in her office?! I want one
    cern manager: guys lets not get off track here...
    cern mathematician: Where do I file a report about the espresso maker? its seemed to quit working entirely.
    cern laureate: my jack lalane power juicer just cut out and im mid-smoothie, this is urgent...
    cern manager: just use the vitamix in my lab.
    cern engineer: vitamix?! am i the only one here whos been drinking freeze dry sanka for 5 years?!
    cern mathematician: of course not Ive been drinking your sanka too...
  • Lame (Score:5, Funny)

    by Major Blud ( 789630 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @11:01AM (#51381615) Homepage

    LHC.....No wireless. Cost more than Fermilab. Lame.

    • LHC.....No wireless.

      Off course not. They study particles, they do not simply trust those particles are doing their designated job. Before you know it A SYN passes out as an ACK at the other end of the collider...

    • LHC.....No wireless.

      The magnets in the LHC require a ~9,000 amp current and the ability to dump it somewhere fast in the event of a quench. Care to explain how you plan to do that wirelessly? It's also worth pointing out that the part of the accelerator complex they are recabling was built in 1954, 13 years before Fermilab existed and 17 years before the first wireless packet network [].

      • More importantly: a there are thousands of devices that monitor the beam. Plus the actual detectors, which generate multiple terabytes of data PER MINUTE. I'd like to see the wireless hub that can keep up with that.

      • Even with a six-digit UID you ought to know this joke.
  • by scunc ( 4201789 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @11:03AM (#51381631)
    Are you looking to get into the fast-paced, exciting world of experimental particle physics? Then CERN might be looking for you! We are currently in the process of hiring an unpaid intern to help us perform maintenance on the Large Hadron Collider (yes, you read that right--THE Large Hadron Collider!)

    Pay: This is an unpaid position, but the experience you gain will look great on your resume!

    Hours: Don't Ask.

    Required Qualifications: At least 10 years experience working with high energy supercolliders, 15 years experience with networking enterprise-level systems, and a minimum of a Master's Degree in Theoretical Physics (student experience will be considered)

    Position: Entry-level.
  • by DutchUncle ( 826473 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @11:08AM (#51381661)
    One of the few silver linings of the Hurricane Sandy damage: they finally pulled tons of old copper out of the tunnels and cable-runs and replaced it with fiber, because there was finally no way to be sure which was obsolete and which was current-but-damaged.
  • Keep on tinkering guys, the world will collapse without you. The entire scientific publishing industry would disappear without your massive overload of papers too.
  • The engineers should turn it into a game: count how many cables they can disconnect in a hour and then try and beat that record. They'll be done in no time!

    • by abies ( 607076 )

      They are planning it as 4 year long project. With quite a few people on the team, average amount of cables you are expected to disconnect per hour is between 0.1 to 0.2. Might be hard to gamify that...

  • I've been in relatively new commercial buildings where they had to replace entire conduits because they were literally packed with cables (most of them inactive). 9000 actually seems low for CERN.

    They just need to make sure they don't disconnect the cable that keeps the speed of light constant.

  • by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @11:14AM (#51381731) Homepage Journal

    If they know they are 9000, that would suggest they have already identified them.

    It's not like the New York City Subway, where a combination of age and bad record keeping in the early years, combined with the fact that it's 3 or 4 different systems that merged into one system has led to most of the engineers not knowing what's down there at all.

    You ask how many unused cables are in the NY Subway, and you'll get a shrug. Nobody knows. Hell, my favorite is when they break through a wall and find track and a train that nobody knew about for 60 years.

    9000 unused cables? Pfft. That's not that impressive.

    • If they know they are 9000, that would suggest they have already identified them.

      Not necessarily. You could know how many cables there are in total (just count them), and how many devices there are (because you track your assets). That'll tell you roughly how many without giving even a hint which is which.

  • by drew_kime ( 303965 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @11:15AM (#51381737) Journal

    Imagine trying to deal with this [].

    A two-day pumping operation has left the cable vault mostly dry, but it doesn’t look right. Cable insulation has been stripped back in areas, cords are cut, chunks of cables lie on the ground, and splice boxes have been torn open. Levendos explains to me that before crews could even begin removing water, they needed to repair ground-level fuel pumps to feed backup diesel generators on the upper floors.

  • In related news, someone had to shovel the shit out of the barns for some farm research at a university in Iowa last night.

    In other words, yeah there's maintenance and cleaning work associated with almost any non-trivial research project; just ask a grad student if you need more examples. Swapping out 9000 cables sounds probably like a day at the beach in some lines of work.

  • I know what they're going through......

    (I seriously had 30+ lbs of small random cables piled up in the parking lot of a Galveston gas station one time as I pulled them out)

  • Reading TFA, all these cables are disconnected but still in the trays. It doesn't say if these are copper or fiber, and from that pic it's impossible to tell. If I ever did something like that at any of my corporate cabling jobs I would have been fired pretty quickly. Even at our smallest job we always labeled the cables, even if just with a sharpie. But for copper, a tone generator would make the job far easier. This is basic networking stuff, CERN has some of the smartest people on the planet working t
    • by tibit ( 1762298 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @12:26PM (#51382341)

      a device that could potentially eventually produce a particle that could turn our planet into a blob of stranglets

      Potentially you could stop writing catastrophic nonsense, too.

      a tone generator would make the job far easier

      This is the least of your concerns. If you can merely safely access both ends of the cable, that's already a big win. Remember that different cables go between different locations, and some of these locations are unsafe to access during operation, some of them are unsafe to access at any time due to presence of radioactive dust, and many teams keep different things inaccessible at various times for all sorts of reasons. You're basically assuming problems that aren't there. They have mounds of documentation detailing the routing of these cables. The cables do have identifiers, and I can state this quite categorically. This is CERN bureaucracy, they sometimes serialize their pencils for all I know.

      The "have to identify" phrase is simply sensationalistic wording. They can point to each of these cables on the plans, they know what labels they have, that's not an issue. The issue is to physically get to the ends of each cable run and find them among everything else that's there, without breaking any rules and without disrupting anything where downtime can cost a thousand Euros per second.

      • I was going to say "this energy level will of course also destroy this planet by collapsing it into an ultra dense particle about the size of a pea, but you will die knowing the true mass of the final building block of nature", but just didn't take the time to look up the quote then. I would also hope they would never actually pull cables out during operations; that's just common sense. They might, however, have to extend the two-month downtime a bit longer for this special project. The radioactive dust how
    • This is basic networking stuff, CERN has some of the smartest people on the planet working there...I expected better from them LOL

      When I worked on the Google help desk in 2008, I had to walk a recent Stanford University graduate through the process of turning on the computer. I explained to him that a cubicle farm wasn't the same as a computer lab and that he will have to turn on his own computer. You're be surprised by how many computer engineers don't know had a PC actually works in the real world.

  • Damn (Score:5, Funny)

    by U2xhc2hkb3QgU3Vja3M ( 4212163 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @11:26AM (#51381819)

    One more cable and they could have gone Super Saiyan on the task.

  • by ErichTheRed ( 39327 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @11:34AM (#51381897)

    It's amazing how much cabling gets forgotten about when you have a chaotic lab environment and new stuff coming in all the time (we do hardware evaluations and other systems integration work.) There's never any money left over for structured cabling once it's been spent on all the fancy new hardware. Even if we invested in structured cabling it would turn into an unstructured mess quickly. I have racks that look like those Magic Eye pictures; the only thing that will solve it is unplugging everything. I'm sure world class scientists can't be bothered to label anything if we can't!

    • We had similar problems when I was in the Navy. Under the deck in the Missile Control Center was a rats nest of cables... probably half of them unused leftovers from previous generations of fire control system. (When I served aboard 655, she was on her third generation.) The cables were simply terminated and left in place because once the cables were installed and the fire control system installed above them, there was no practical and economic way to remove them during later upgrades, modifications,

    • I'm sure world class scientists can't be bothered to label anything if we can't!

      I'm sure they do, and cables can be traced. The problem is not tracing the cable, it's physically removing it. You can't just yank when there's several tonnes of copper lying above you as I imagine a long cable tray which has had new projects constantly added to it would look.

  • ... someone with experience [] for this job.

  • Get that new guy gordon freeman to do the work.

  • It seems they just got this thing on-line and up to full capacity in the last couple of years. Now it's already obsolete?

    I must be getting old or something: stuff seems to change so fast it's obsolete before even being used. Should I get bell-bottom jeans? I might still have a pair from the last bell era.

    • by kyrsjo ( 2420192 )

      The facility has been active for over 60 years, and the cables are in some of the oldest parts (the injectors). So yeah, some of this stuff is obsolete; If I'm not mistaken, they ripped out a lot of 60s control electronics during the consolidation last year...

  • by stealth_finger ( 1809752 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @12:46PM (#51382535)
    and it'll be twice as much work later on.
  • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @01:25PM (#51382863)

    Book: Puzzles for Pleasure []
    Chapter: "Wire Wizards", page 73

    Roadworks found eight wire ends protruding from a pipe in London. In Glasgow they discovered the other ends of the eight wires. Two foremen Smith and Campbell met to discuss how to match up the two sets of ends.

    Back in London, Smith took a battery and connected pre-arranged numbers of ends to the positive terminal, the negative terminal, and left at least one wire free.

    In Glasgow, Campbell labelled his ends A to H, then with a bulb tested each pair of wires that could be formed from the eight, for a circuit. Knowing the pre-arranged numbers Campbell could identify wires in each group.

    The idea now was for Smith to disconnect the barrery, and Campbell to join six of his ends into 3 pairs, then tell Smith which ends he'd joined and which wires were in each group. Smith could then test all pairs of his ends using his battery and bulb, and thereby correctly identify his wire ends.

    * []

  • ...but sometimes those labor- and time-saving ideas turn around a bite ya.
  • I had pretty much the same problem in the late 1990's when management FINALLY decided to give up Token Ring and rewire for Ethernet. The cable troughs in the building were packed slap full of IBM Type 1 and Type 2 cables with no where for the Cat5 to go. Five floors of a 20 story office building had to be stripped of the Token Ring Cables and have Cat 5 pulled at the same time we were transitioning from the IBM MAU's to 100 Mb switches on each floor with Gigabit fiber backbone.

    Oh, one more thing.... M
  • To make space, CERN engineers have set out to identify and remove the old, unused cables. All 9,000 of them

    And that, children, is what happens when decommissioning is not a concrete, well-thought off, first class phase in a system's life cycle.

  • by Phil Karn ( 14620 ) <karn@ka9 q . n et> on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @03:30PM (#51383771) Homepage
    Telephone companies used to have this exact problem. (Maybe they still do). Central offices contain a "mainframe", essentially a huge patch panel that connects cable pairs coming in the building to the switches. Technicians activated a given local loop by running a cross-connect pair. When service was discontinued, they'd often just disconnect the pair but leave it in the mainframe to clog things up for the future. I suspect this problem is decreasing with the growth of remote switching. E.g., AT&T U-verse terminates the customer loop in a VRAD cabinet in the local neighborhood instead of carrying it all the way to the central office.
  • And Ma Bell has been doing it for a century. Cable rack in the central offices gets crowded after just a few decades, otherwise.

    There's precedent, there are specialized tools and procedures for error reduction, and worldwide there are at least dozens, perhaps hundreds, of people with lots of experience in this very specific field.

  • Only 9000? They haven't seen behind my computer desk.

As of next Tuesday, C will be flushed in favor of COBOL. Please update your programs.