20061009

What is a network weasel?

Network weasels are members of the genus Mustela trained to install network cabling between the BDF (Building Distribution Frame aka "wiring closet") and the end station (aka "wall jack" or "network outlet"). Due to their high intelligence, elongated bodies and agile fore paws they have been found to be particularly successful in navigating the conduits, plenum ceilings and wall cavities. In recent years special accommodations have been made to increase the specifications of the diameter and bending radius of conduit used to provide the cable paths within buildings in order to improve the efficiency of the network weasels. A typical scenario for which a network weasel is used would be as follows: An end user requests a new network connection from the networking group. The networking group notifies the weasel wrangler on call in the weasel pit and informs them of the request. The wrangler selects an appropriate weasel from the pen, puts on the special collar to which one end of the cable and weasel adapted tools are attached. A proprietary method of images and scent markings are used to communicate the requested station location to the weasel and it is then released into the correct conduit path. The weasel wrangler then monitors the tension on the cable spool and amount used to ensure the network weasel does not take a path that exceeds the IETF distance recommendations for the cabling used in that facility. (As a side note, one weasel wrangler can in general monitor up to 10 different weasels actively installing cable. Some notable exceptions have been able to succesfully monitor up to 24. These are the elite weasel wranglers and often are found in the most demanding, and rewarding, environments.) Once the network weasel has navigated the conduits, ceilings and walls to the requested station location as indicated by the scent markings it proceeds to terminate the cable onto the preinstalled jack in the faceplate. It then returns to the wrangler in the weasel pit where the cable is cut from the spool, terminated and connected to the network hardware.

Please note that network weasels are working animals, much like seeinng eye dogs, and as such should not be distracted from their duties by petting or offers of food. Should a network weasel fall through a damaged ceiling tile in your office, do not panic and do not approach the weasel as it will be disoriented and may bite. It is also important to not touch the weasel as the contact might disrupt the weasels scent memory and cause it to perform its duties incorrectly. Please contact your on call weasel wrangler who will safely and correctly return the weasel to its duties. Do not forget to contact your Facilties department to request a new ceiling tile.

If there are any questions about network weasels, please feel free to contact me in the weasel pit.

2 comments:

Matt said...

Man, I remember being a network weasel. When I left "State" in 1993, that was one of my first part-time jobs.

Of course, I supplemented my income by tutoring math and monitoring the computer labs, but stringing 10b2 cable around the campus was the most fun.

The Queen said...

Is there any money in breeding network weasels? Are there advantages to purebred vs. "paperless" network weasels?

Can they be trained to help with the laundry?