Delights of a Minnesotan Gigabit Switch (part 1, background)

My old Asus wireless router was done. Dropped connections, Drawfee constantly interrupted, the black box physically hot all the time. Hardware fault? Crypto miner? Unauthorized host of copyrighted videos and malware? Who could say? I felt the pain, but an excitement was also brewing: A chance to Do It Right, read, obsess, crawl on my belly like a reptile (under the house with Ethernet cable). Yes. r/HomeNetworking shot up the ranking on my new tab screen. (I poked my head briefly into r/homelab before deciding that honestly I do have limits). After a discernment process, I bought a lightly used UniFi ensemble, and the calm blue glow cheered my heart.


I made what I felt were elegant loopies going up to my patch panel.

network on wall.jpeg

But what is someone who buys the fanciest system and then… stops? The boring kind of nerd. They have no ambition, only purchasing power from a good job in IT related fields. I thirsted for something more. Something rack-mounted, yeah, and old. Something inscrutable. But something supplying power over Ethernet, because a separate PoE injector is inelegant. And not 100 megabit, hey, even our Comcast is faster than that.

Many fresh faces stared at me from eBay. But too fresh.

Screenshot_2020-10-21 BV-Tech 5 Port Gigabit PoE  Switch (4 PoE  1 Ethernet Uplink) – 65W – 802 3at 813076025507 eBay.png BVTech, gadish!

Screenshot_2020-10-21 Netgear Prosafe FS728TP 24 Port 10 100 POE Smart Switch w Rack Ears 801096835138 eBay.png Netgear, at least it’s metal

Screenshot_2020-10-21 TRENDnet 10-Port Gigabit PoE  Switch Web Smart 710931161106 eBay.png TRENDnet, entertaining that the status LEDs’ arrangement has no relationship at all to the row of ports

The Cisco Catalyst and HP ProCurve stirred me a little more. Screenshot_2020-10-21 Cisco Catalyst 3560 WS-C3560-48PS-S 48 Port 100Mb s Fast PoE Ethernet Switch eBay.png Screenshot_2020-10-21 HP ProCurve 2520-8 8 Port PoE 10 100 Rack Mountable Network Switch J9137A eBay.png

Gigabit is cheap, actually, in the used market, and so is PoE. But the combination is both expensive and bulky. I realized that almost all of the charming ones were a few inches too deep for the tiny network rack I’d bought from a German roboticist in a police station parking lot outside Indianapolis.

Frustrated and increasingly frantic, I returned to the very, very end of my eBay watch list, to a box that had caught my eye a week earlier. Waters Network Systems, you say? Who the heck is that?

Screenshot_2020-10-21 Switches from Waters Network Systems.png

A website ©2011, featuring case studies of jelly bean iMacs!

Screenshot_2020-10-21 Google Maps.png

A sheet metal office in a Minnesota town literally called Hayfield!

Screenshot_2020-10-21 Waters Network Systems GSM-2112-POE 12-port ProSwitch PoE Gigabit Switch eBay.png

A blue metal case with noisy fans, for $50 OBO. Pulled from a school in Boca Ratón but currently living in Brooklyn. Yes. This is the level of mystery I want in my life. Gigabit, PoE, AND it fit the rack with whole inches to spare. I bought it for $45 plus shipping, and it arrived strong and blue, four days later.

The fans had the shottest bearings I ever did hear.

And the management interface was still password protected. The Reset button wasn’t that kind of reset button. Por favor, get excited to hear how I beat down these obstacles! You can now read part two, in which I fix the fans and don’t quite own the switch, and part three in which I break in!