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Four examples of networks in unusual places

If you think you had a weird day at the office, check out some of the crazy conditions these IT pros work in as we explore four networks off the beaten path.

Unlike servers or storage, networks often require engineers to leave the cozy confines of a data center.

Even in standard brick-and-mortar enterprises, network engineers are used to getting their hands dirty -- whether that involves climbing a ladder to mount an access point or snaking cable through a raised floor.

Not all networks support cubicle farms, however. For some IT professionals, a regular day at the office can include troubleshooting switches exposed to below-zero temperatures or networking around a military operation. In this series, we'll give you a glimpse of the wild side of networking with some examples of networks in unusual or rugged locations to find out what it's like to implement, maintain and manage networks in extraordinary environments.

Part 1: Williams Martini Racing

When network reliability matters more than performance

First, go behind the scenes with Williams Martini Racing, a British Formula 1 motorsport team and constructor, where the only people moving faster than the IT pros are the racecar drivers zipping around Grand Prix circuits.

Part 2: Pogo gold mine

Building resilient networks on a mountain, at sub-zero temps

Next, we go 1,900 feet above sea level on a mountain in interior Alaska, where the networking pros at the Pogo underground gold mine have to keep a network running in the face of extreme temperature drops and an endless onslaught of dirt.

Part 3: U.S. Army in Liberia

Encrypted network tunnel boosts bandwidth securely

Other examples of networks in unexpected places include the U.S. Army's mission in Liberia during the height of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. In the face of a global health crisis and stringent security requirements, a group of Army networking pros found inventive ways to get more bandwidth for the American taxpayer's buck.

Part 4: Chitale Dairy processing plant

Apps milk benefits of strong network infrastructure design

Finally, find out what it takes to run a network at a dairy processing plant in India that operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to keep up with milk production and customer demand. At Chitale Dairy, performance and resiliency are the top priorities for all network infrastructure. 

Next Steps

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Get rugged: Ethernet switches that survive frigid cold

This was last published in February 2016

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