Signaleers solve connection problems

| May 19, 2011 | 0 Comments
Sgt. Adam Starnes (right) works with Spc. David Gasaway, both with Co. A, 307th Expeditionary Sig. Bn., 516th Sig. Bde., 311th Sig. Command, on constructing a homemade cable to replace faulty cabling for a JNN system during an exercise, recently. (Sgt. Joseph Shinskey | 307th Expeditionary Sig. Bn., 516th Sig. Bde., 311th Sig. Command)

Sgt. Adam Starnes (right) works with Spc. David Gasaway, both with Co. A, 307th Expeditionary Sig. Bn., 516th Sig. Bde., 311th Sig. Command, on constructing a homemade cable to replace faulty cabling for a JNN system during an exercise, recently. (Sgt. Joseph Shinskey | 307th Expeditionary Sig. Bn., 516th Sig. Bde., 311th Sig. Command)

1st Lt. David A. Richards & 1st Lt. Michael A. Hayden
307th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 516th Sig. Brigade, 311th Sig. Command

Specialist saves the day with homemade cable ingenuity

CLARK AIR BASE, Philippines — Signaleer skills came in handy, here, recently, to get global connectivity back on the grid.

Soldiers of Company A, 307th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 516th Sig. Brigade, 311th Sig. Command, used their skills to address and fix problems on routers, switches, call managers and other network-related devices.

Their expertise was especially needed when the Defense Switched Network, or DSN, wouldn’t come online for a Joint Network Node, or JNN.

The JNN had successfully provided both non-secure Internet protocol router and secure Internet protocol router services to the U.S. Army-Pacific Contingency Command Post. The team, however, had been relying on an alternate circuit to another communications node to supply DSN voice services.

After days of nonstop troubleshooting, Co. A, 307th Expeditionary Sig. Bn., 526th Sig. Bde. Soldiers; General Dynamics Field Service representatives; and Communications-Electronics Command Logistics Assistance representatives narrowed the problem to a bad connection between two pieces of equipment — otherwise known as a cable.

The cable had already been replaced once due to equipment damage during shipping.

Without the flexibility of swapping out larger components of the system to test the current cable, Sgt. Adam Starnes, team chief, JNN, Co. A, 307th Expeditionary Sig. Bn., 526th Sig. Bde., suggested trying to build a replacement cable.

“Without replacements to test the other parts, it made sense to try a new cable,” he said. “We had to come up with the next step.”

Even though the cable had been changed once before, the team used its collective training and expertise and decided to try again. With no qualified cable systems installer-maintainer on the JNN team, Spc. David Gasaway, information systems operator-analyst, Co. A, 307th Expeditionary Sig. Bn., 516th Sig. Bde., saved the day. He made a cable from scratch — and with a little help from Google.

Gasaway had been cross-trained to make cables and was assigned the task of fabricating the replacement crossover cable. Having never made this crossover cable before, he took the obvious first step and Googled it.

“It’s the first place to look,” Gasaway said. “Google will find the answer.”

Armed with a picture of a proper pin diagram, a pair of crimpers, some category-5 cable and two RJ-45 ends, Gasaway went to work. Within a couple of hours, he had installed his new homemade cable.

After implementing a few minor configuration changes to the call manager, JNN was successfully making and receiving DSN telephone calls. Soldiers deployed in the Philippines were soon communicating all over the world.

The JNN effectively connected more than 100 customers, including five senior leaders in USARPAC, as part of a certification exercise.

Because the team refused to quit in the face of unexpected challenges, it was ultimately able to provide DSN voice services, truly living up to the 516th Sig. Bde.’s motto, “Voice of the Pacific.”

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Category: Deployed Forces, News

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