It’s 8.05 on Monday morning and despite my best efforts it appears that no amount of coffee or toast can prepare me for the day ahead. I’m stood in a large store room literally surrounded by telephones, specifically there are 150 Alcatel voice over ip phones covering every available surface within sight. Next to me is Pete Stein our telecoms guru (he’ll like that guru comment.) who is somehow getting all of these telephones into a trolley with amazing TARDIS qualities (in that it is obviously much bigger on the inside than it looks from the outside!). You might wonder what I’m doing messing around with phones when there is a whole building crying out for Sun Rays, well the answer is very simple. Now that we use VOIP technology the network for your pc (or Sun Ray) will be run through the telephone. So if we are deploying any kind of computer or terminal that needs a network connection it makes sense to put the phone in first rather than have to turn off the computer when the phone needs installing.
So we packed up our trolleys full of telephones and headed over to the Faculty of Health building. I was instantly amazed with how much it had come along since Friday night and there were teams of builders and cleaning staff frantically tidying up the little bits and bobs. Our first port of call was the admin office on the ground floor, we popped all our phones in there and I headed upstairs to the Deans office to try and get them up and running. So I unboxed a Sun Ray and plugged in the telephone… and… nothing! The phone couldn’t connect! In went the Sun Ray… it couldn’t connect either! Disaster! It was the perfect start to the day… I made my apologies to the staff there and got on the phone to the rest of our guys. It was quickly determined that we had a network connectivity issue and Chris our Network manager was contacted to take a look. Chris quickly determined that it was a problem with the 10 gig Fibre optic connection between the FOH and CMIST (sidenote time.. the link between CMIST runs at 10000 megabits a second, our usual desktop speed is 100 megabits and most home broadband is only 2-8!). Chris was able to resolve the issue and we were up and running.
I went down to admin and found colleagues from the IT Services Helpdesk, Core Services and Learning Services all busy shifting Sun Rays and phones into the building and starting to get them out on the desks. Unfortunately we had another problem.. In the admin office power and data (network) points had been mounted on the pedestals under the desks so that the staff could have an open plan office. Usually this is fine but in this case there were a number of desks where it was literally impossible to make a power cable reach from the wall socket to the Sun Ray. Soon we had an electrician in there working on changing the sockets around to sort it out for us but at the expense of us having no desktop power in that office for the majority of the day.
With nothing more we could do there our teams split up and we started working on the smaller offices for the FOH academic staff. I was working with Tony (our techie for the Aintree site) and Gary (from our Helpdesk) installing Sun Rays and telephones for the majority of the day. Here is an exciting photo of Gary doing some under desk cable management!
There is still a lot to do but with our small teams working like crazy for the whole day we managed to get the majority of the offices set up and running with their Sun Ray desktops and a lot of the telephones installed and ready to go. There is still a lot to do and tomorrow will be the real test when we finally have a large number of users running on our Sun Ray system. Expect another update soon!