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Need feedback: People with No LAN experience asked to be LAN support

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Jan 12th, 2002
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My department is planning to take 4 people with no experience in LANs, and assign them the responsibilities involved to move 150 people from Ethernet to Token Ring. The 4 people will then be the on-going support to the 150 people after the LAN transition is complete.

These 4 people are going to get "on the job" training that is undefined.

If this scenario is realized, will it work? And how much time is involved for the 4 people to support 150 people. The 4 people already have full time responsibilities at the company.

Info need to present the reality versus the internal perspective that this is "no big deal."

I'd appreciate your response asap. Thank you.


Please respond here or email me: [email protected]


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jwitherell Sat, 01/12/2002 - 08:32
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That's a pretty vague question. However, doing the actual migration to Ethernet shouldn't be a big deal for them to catch on to, provided they already are familiar with the operating system (assuming it's Windows workstations here, right?) and how to go into Control Panels, load drivers, etc.


What experience do the four people have already? Are they computer savvy at all?


I would have to say that as long as the new LAN cabling is installed, with needed drops activated and tested, maybe even having the patch cord already hanging out of the jack, then it shouldn't be too big a problem. Assuming you'll have them install the new NIC, take out the old TR NIC, load drivers and verify operation, it probably would take maybe a day of hands on training with an experienced person.


You would definitely want to have someone nearby for these four people, for the inevitable bad card, hung PC, bad LAN jack, slow connection and all the other exceptions that will catch these four off guard. Make sure they work with the experienced person on these exceptions, as those will be the ones they will see later on after they move into the ongoing support role.


If you want, I can help you reason through some things. I have actually been involved in several network upgrades, which required some of the same things. I'm at [email protected]


Jim

jkemery Sat, 01/12/2002 - 11:10
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Why are you moving from Ethernet to Token Ring, thats a major step backwards??? Anyway, I have managed a Token Ring to Ethernet migration for about 300 nodes and it was no easy task. We installed an old Cisco 4005 with a NM-2E and a NM-2TR to route from the old network to the new. Setup all the new services like DHCP,DNS etc on the new Ethernet LAN that was aggregated with Cisco 4006's and 2948G-L3's at the access layer. We had the Layer 1 installed and certified with the patch cables hanging out of the wall. I then got 4 low-level techs onsite to go around and remove the old TR cards and install the new Ethernet NIC's. The first few were a challenge but then we got the little driver bugs worked out etc. and it went very smooth. The main thing I learned from this project was not to let the techs get stuck on a machine that didn't load the new card correctly. One tech spent the entire day on one machine, so we just started documenting the trouble machines and left them on the TR segement for now, finished the lot of the installs and came back later to the trouble machines for further analysis.

Once we were done we removed all the old Token ring concentrators and L1 cabling, removed the router and rebooted all the PC's so they got the new IP address for the existing subnet and it was back to normal networking except the network was now much faster and more versitile.


Hope that helps? :)


dpropson Sun, 01/13/2002 - 07:08
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From Ether to Token Ring? That must be a typo. If that is the case, expect many problems. The support issue shouldn't be problem but why switch lan types?

kemahnken Sun, 01/13/2002 - 08:38
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The belief is that simply applying people to an issue will resolve or appear to resolve the issue. The issue being faced is one of people, process and business requirements.


*Generally things are grouped people, process, technology and business objectives. However in this case the technology is a minor issue IMHO.


The components that need to be put in place include support processes, detailed procedures, OJT Training, some form of self training, and a clear definition of the business goals, objectives and measures that will ensure the success of these people and the determine the level of success.


The goal should be to develop the new team members and integrate them as fast as possible. However, this isn't a common strategy with technical people since it is viewed as a threat to their job security. This is what I got as I read between the lines of the message. I would develop processes, procedures and strategies for assisting in the development of these new team members.


There needs to be a way to set obtainable objectives for the new team members (training, skills, knowledge, ability to support the environment) so they can be evaluated during the break in period. Similar measures need to be in place to ensure senior members of the team are supporting the effort and not impeding it. This is the only business way a manager, worth his/her salt, would be able to determine who stays, who goes and what's working.




jwitherell Sun, 01/13/2002 - 16:26
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Wow! I didn't even catch that, guys! So you're really moving *from* Ethernet to Token Ring? The first thing in your presentation should be to point out how bad a decision it is to move to Token Ring! Not only are the NICs overpriced, but it is pretty much a dead-end technology.


Heck, I'm an IBMer and even I see that as a rediculous idea! If you want to make a really smart-aleck remark, tell them they really should put in a brand new FDDI backbone while they are at it!

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