Probably my worst day at work..
I remember, back in the late 90's, working for a company that had a large warehouse, and at the far end of this warehouse was a lonely PC used for shipping the days items out, printing the labels and booking consignments etc. One day we got a call from the dispatch guy to say the machine wasn't connecting to the network, he couldn't ship out the days orders and could we come take a look.
True to form the computer wasn't connecting at all, and there was no obvious reason I could find, so I took it back to the lab and set it up there to diagnose the issue however, when connected at my desk, it worked first time. Odd, must be an issue with the network connection at the back of the warehouse then.. seemed a reasonable assumption. The port on the switch was live and worked without issue so my immediate thought was "ah someone in the warehouse has probably broken the cable with a palette or something". Now this particular network cable has been installed for years.. a lowly piece of Cat5 that SOMEHOW makes it's way to the end of the warehouse.. nobody quite knows how, nor what route it takes to get there but after much faffing around following it through ceiling tiles and the like, I finally discover that the cable follows along one of the steel roof supports of the warehouse (the whole length of it!) before dropping down a piece of trunking used for the switch for the lights outside the delivery bay.
And this is a big warehouse, two thirds of which has a mezzanine floor over it, thankfully, which made inspecting the cable all the way along a fairly easy task with a long ladder until the point where mezzanine floor ended and there was still no sign of any breaks or damage in the cable. Now the rest of the cable ran along this beam for the last 1/3rd of the length of the warehouse.. some 50' up in the air from the floor and, whilst pondering exactly how to investigate the remaining length (or even how on earth I'm going to rig a new cable along that length anyway), it was then that I noticed, about half way down, a small piece of thin black cable sticking out from behind the roof beam. Thinking this was odd I set about coming up with a possible way to inspect what the cable was, could it be something related? I was unsure but I knew I needed something with more reach than my already quite long ladder to get up there.
Roll the clock forward twenty minutes, and there I am.. shaking and sweating, standing atop a pile of 10 palettes, perched atop a long reach forklift, fully extended, fifty feet above the solid concrete floor of the warehouse with about 20 pickers and packers laughing and cheering below me. I'm not all that good with heights, I'll be honest.. this was probably my worst nightmare. But then the reason for the failed network connection was finally obvious.
Turns out that the dispatch computer USED to be located at the end of the mezzanine floor, with parcels rolling down an old parcel chute out to the loading bay and originally this network cable had dropped down from the ceiling straight to it. When the machine was moved next to the loading bay doors.. the remaining cable wasn't long enough to reach the new position and apparently splicing and extending the cable made the reach too long and caused connectivity problems. The previous admin, several years before, had decided that as a quick fix he would extend the cable by the addition of an old 8 port hub stuck up behind the beam, wiring it into the power supply for the outside lights! This poor thing had been up there for all these years acting as, not only an improvised network repeater, but also the improvised central heating for a nest of pigeons up in the roof!
Needless to say, whilst the hub had impressively weathered several years of one of the toughest environments I'd ever seen.. it had finally expired, probably due to the fact it had to be dug out of a monumental amount of pigeon crap that had accumulated over the years.
Also needless to say, I was VERY glad to be back on the ground once more a little while later, still sweating profusely, with legs like jelly from the vertigo.. and pigeon S#*T all over me...
Worst, Day, Ever