Wednesday, 30 November 2011


"...well, I don't think it is our responsibility".

I went to a student fault, all our kit was working, so started looking at the cabling.

A bit of background: some of our newest student accommodation is not owned by the University, but by an external company. The company owns the building and everything in it. They have told us they are responsible for anything physical in the buildings. The network settings is our responsibility; the sockets, wiring etc. is theirs.

Despite this, when a student gets in touch with them to report a problem (usually physical damage) it gets sent from them to us. As a favour (or just to get students working quicker - they can take weeks to fix a broken socket) we have been fixing broken sockets and damaged cables because it is easier than bounces emails and calls around the help desks. Also, when they do attempt to fix it we normally need to go back and fix it again as they are not too good at terminating sockets.

This fault in particular was showing a problem 6 meters from the room. Too close to be the cab. We traced the cable to a riser where, upon opening it, we discovered another socket for the room... that was dripping wet!

The contacts were going green they were that wet so it was obvious we had found the problem. I cleaned the contacts up with a screwdriver as a temporary fix for the student to get them working for now, then went to report it to the owners.

All we got from them was a load of drivel about how it's a network problem... and there is nothing they can do... and they don't think it is their responsibility. That it should be down to us to sort it out.

I am sorry?
Your building - physical? check
Your cabling - physical? check
Water leak - physical problem? check
Damaged socket - physical problem? check
Damaged cabling - physical problem? check

The university network is up and running, the problem is at their end. The students are paying their rent to a company for a service that the company does not deliver.

We should have just checked the switch was up and left it to them.

Except the student would be without a network connection, and we wouldn't do that to them.

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