Random Geekage

Never underestimate the desire of students to acquire an internet connection.

Even more so when the administration is not particularly helpful.

A long time ago, the Internet connection wasn’t a thing you would expect to be available in every place you find yourself by default. Internet connection was a privilege available to the luckiest people. It was like that in Russia until the late 2000s, when the situation started to change.

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To connect this router to the other parts of the network, we laid fiber cables through secret passages in the walls, ceilings, floors, and ventilation shafts. Sometimes even I was surprised how well those cables were hidden. For example, there was a network switch in the ventilation shaft, and in order to reach it, you had to get into the hole in the wall and climb a couple of meters.

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The client connection procedure was not the easiest one as well. If a student didn’t have a cable in their room already, you had to make a new one. So you go to the closest “switch room” and hope there is somebody there and they’ll let you in. If nobody was living there anymore, you had to go to the administration and try to convince them to give you the keys. Often they didn’t let you in. That’s when you had to resort to the last option: using lockpicks. Yes, you heard it correctly. Network engineers had lockpicks and were trained to use them.

Pavel Safronov on Medium.

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