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Don’t throw it away!!!



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February 6, 2007 2:40 pm

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Ethernet Hub

People will be amazed about what we as support engineers can get out of a network trace.

In general logfiles are the first thing to look at when you run into some issues, logfiles however do not always get you to the root cause of an issue. In some situations a network trace is the perfect way to get the information about what happens and at what exact point thing’s go wrong. Taking a trace however isn’t always easy, many customers are using high-end ethernet switches and taking a network trace will often require some assistance from the people managing the infrastructure so that they can take the trace from a monitoring port on the switch.

The first thing I always ask to a customer if they need to take a trace on the workstation side is if they have an old ethernet hub available somewhere. Just connect the problem workstation to the hub and connect a second workstation to take the trace. Unfortunately these day’s it isn’t that easy to find an old hub, many customers replaced their old hubs with a switched environment and the old hubs just get thrown away as garbage. So now you know, if you still have some hubs available, please don’t throw them away but keep one or two as a troubleshooting tool, at some point in time it might save you some time.

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5 Comments

  1. By:jark

    you’re absolutly right.
    but as a support engineer you should have this stuff in your own bag, together with some more helpful tools:
    – configured linux notebook with wireshark (ethereal)
    (OpenSuSE has a lot more of those tools out of the box)
    – cables and converters
    – a copy of Laura’s (Laura Chappell) Lab Kit
    to only mention a few.

  2. By:Ian

    No worries here. I’ve got plenty…in use! 😐

  3. I have had to resist the urge to fire high velocity rounds at hubs before as people try to image PCs over them and then wonder why they are slow or flaky.

    But yes, they do have one redeeming feature as you pointed out. I think any hubs set aside for this purpose should have a warning sign (such as a biohazard symbol) so that people don’t stick them back into production.

  4. By:Ron van Herk

    Definitely, if I go to a customer I often take a hub with me in my bag. It’s just that I do most of the support remote and as such I ask my customers to take a trace, this is where I ask them if they’ve got a hub they could use.

  5. By:Ron van Herk

    So if you ever get to the point where they get replaced, you know what to do. Keep one on stock and add a spare one with it.
    And as Grant just mentioned, put a note on them indicating they may only be used for troubleshooting 😉

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