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Posted by
4 days ago

Deserted Engineer joke

A network engineer is deserted on an island after a plane crash. He looks in his backpack and finds a granola bar and piece of fiber optic cable. He laughs to himself, buries the fiber and eats the granola bar. 24hrs later a backhoe arrives and digs up the fiber.

94% Upvoted
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moving traffic one bit at a time
28 points · 4 days ago

I've heard this joke before and I feel like the punch line of this version is lacking something.

route route route your boat, gently down the stream
37 points · 4 days ago

Yeah, it hasn't been punched right down.

Punching down fiber is a little unreliable.

15 points · 3 days ago

I think I heard it as something along the lines of:

How does a network engineer get off a desert island? He buries some fibre and waits for the backhoe to show up.

3 points · 3 days ago · edited 3 days ago

Should add '#Rescued' at the end imo.

I mean, I got it, but that might get right to the significance of why he laughed?

Original Poster2 points · 3 days ago

Right, it's so common for fiber to be dug up he knows he just has to bury it and wait.

2 points · 3 days ago

Yeah I mean, I didn't really have to reread it. I thought it was great as is, tbh.

9 points · 4 days ago · edited 4 days ago

I want to understand this, but I can’t.

Edit: thanks to everybody who explained. But I do think if you don’t live in America it may not be that easy to get. Good joke anyway.

35 points · 4 days ago

Fiber cables are masochistic. They want to get dug up, cut over, blown up or otherwise attract destruction. It might even be dictated by physics itself.

Always Learning
5 points · 4 days ago

They are also a good way to find a fire.

City construction constantly destroys fiber cables because the project overseers pay close attention to gas lines and little to no attention to infrastructure cable runs. Work starts and a backhoe rips up the ground and a shitload of fiber with it. Then tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent to emergency roll a repair crew to splice like hell.

15 points · 4 days ago

So the solution is to put the fiber lines inside or right next to the gas lines, problem solved. /s

30 points · 4 days ago

Actually, yes

6 points · 3 days ago

I've ordered circuits delivered exactly this way from Towngas Telecom in Hong Kong. "Glass in gas" and "Glass alongside gas" are both options.

Gas doesnt very much care if inert glass and photons touch it.

7 points · 4 days ago

Backhoe? Small problem.

Excavator mounted drill? That emergency crew is going to have to set up camp near the site for a week or two.

LSP tangler
2 points · 3 days ago

Yep. We lost most of a km to a zoned-out auger operator. That was a big bundle of fibre around the auger bit...

Original Poster12 points · 4 days ago

Somewhat related, a company I worked for paid for 3 separate circuits at a building in San Francisco for redundancy purposes. Some construction near by dug up a fiber and killed all 3 circuits. The 3 circuits all came in the building on the same piece of fiber, so much for redundancy ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

5 points · 4 days ago

Oh I’ve been there friend. This is why I always ask for the building entry point. In fact I actually ask for the complete fibre run to confirm it is diverse, If it needs to be redundant it needs to be on different fibre on different entry points into the building and running a completely different path to deferent PoPs, without a complete fibre map you can never be sure if you’re using shared fiber!

Small catch.... even you had a physical map showing it fully redundant at the time of installation; providers sometimes groom circuits from one physical path to another in order to consolidate them, and you can later find "Redundant" links are suddenly in the same fibre bundle at different places.

2 points · 3 days ago

In my experience (in Australia) this has not happened to me yet. However if we have gone to a carrier specifically asked for the fibre to be geographically diverse and they’ve guaranteed it is and a cut breaks both paths you can bet your ass I will be in there with the map asking questions. However like I said, never been an issue for me down here.

rfc9000 - Bitchslap over IP
2 points · 3 days ago

This is why you need to be very specific when you order. If building has an on net provider the other two will just order tails from the on net to save cost if left to their own devices. You have to explicitly state you don't want a tail circuit.

Considering that for most buildings, regardless of carrier there is only going to be 1 entry point to the building this is not uncommon.

CCNA RS/CCNA Sec/CCNP in progress
6 points · 4 days ago

But I do think if you don’t live in America it may not be that easy to get.

I don't know where you live but this pest (called European fiber-seeking backhoe) is also present in Europe :(

Multicast for Broadcast
3 points · 3 days ago

Ah, yes, but the European species is generally a bit smaller and more agile.

Original Poster1 point · 3 days ago

Europe has it's own share of problem. More than once we had under sea cables cut by literal pirates, it tools weeks to get it repaired by whatever local governments Navy cleared the pirate out of the area.

1 point · 4 days ago

Possibly that we just don't use the term backhoe in the UK?

Digger, excavator or JCB would be more universally understandable.


That is the brand...

This is almost like someone saying "fix the Cisco" when they are standing right in front of a juniper.

0 points · 3 days ago

I know.

However, JCB is used in the UK to refer to these machines. Much in the same way as Hoover and vacuum cleaner are synonyms, with Hoover and JCB probably even being the more commonly used terms.

where I live we use term X, to term X is the more commonly used term ?

Your point is stronger for 'excavator' in particular, since I think that might be the actual technical name for them. But "JCB" is right out. Digger could kind of work... but that would mean "literally any machine or person that digs" and would be a bad choice for a joke like this. It sounds too much like a kid making up a name for something they don't know. Like when my kids say "builders" to mean "literally anyone that builds things, from construction workers, to factory workers"

0 points · 3 days ago

Same as the way guys use JLG to refer to a man lift. Used to do some work with a WISP so I'm unfortunately all too familiar...

11 points · 4 days ago

True story (and I am sure most engineers have or will have some variation of this).

Previous "engineer" had the outdoor rated cable laying on the roof of the building. I took the job just as a remodel gets started so I wasn't sure how we fed the neighboring building. Connected building goes offline. Trace the cable, which was a 1" (2.5cm) thick cable with an outer jacket you can barely bend, and there is a 300 lb device for destroying roofing tiles on it (or through it really).

Part of that same cable flew between buildings. Truck from nearby warehouse does u-turn in parking lot and breaks cable.

When the remodel was done, I was so glad to see the end of that cable.

7 points · 4 days ago

If you follow any cable you can get to the end of it. I’ll be here all week...

I was so glad to see the end of that cable.

I would not look into the end of a fiber cable.

RFC's make my wiener tingle
0 points · 3 days ago

Unless it is a very long distance carrier-grade cable, RF-over-fiber, or you are using a magnifying glass to look at it, or you're going to be doing it at very close range literally all day for years, it is perfectly safe to look at the end of a fiber optic cable.

1320 and 1550nm wave lengths are very common, and cornea and lens damage are nothing to mess around with. Your source does not back up what your claiming.

RFC's make my wiener tingle
1 point · 3 days ago · edited 3 days ago

You are perpetuating a myth. I bet you a years worth of reddit gold that you cannot find a single reliable source of anybody ever being injured from the light from a even an enterprise-grade fiber source--it's literally never happened. Here's another source that claims the same thing.

Plus, I fail to understand how "The real issue of eye safety is getting fiber scraps into the eye" doesn't backup my claim?

How about one from NIH showing absurd power levels (.22W/cm2) and required 10 minutes of irridation? It also mentions that removing infrared did not effect the damage.

Lasers are certainly dangerous, I'm not claiming they're not. But fiber optic sources that aren't EDFA's or RFoF certainly aren't.

That's the problem with jokes told over udp, sometimes you don't get half of them.

Not even excluse to America. Any civilized country has this problem. Doesn't seem to matter how deep the cable is buried or how exotic it is routed, it'll still get dug up.

1 point · 3 days ago

Where do you live?

Backhoe? Oh a digger.

Love it. Got a good laugh out of the department as well.

Haha, it turns out, there is no backhoe for thousands of miles. There are, however, squirrels. The network engineer puts the fiber into a trap he made. He has squirrel for dinner every night until he gets rescued by a passing undersea fiber laying ship.

Always Learning
3 points · 4 days ago

As a fiber tech I found this hilarious. No one else in my department got it... :/

The version I heard was “if you hiking in the woods bring fiber with you. If you get lost, bury it and 5 backhoes will be there to dig it up in 15 minutes”.

Did I mention the time that a farmer planted fence posts along a fiber line? This was in the early nineties and MCI was having a ridiculously hard time finding where the break was using reflective tools (that somehow measure how far it is to the break) because the farmer pierced the same cable in two different places with two different posts.

MCI was having a party at the ballpark for customers and we all watched the MCI reps come in looking like they’d been run over by a truck :)

Also there was the one where MFS said somebody left a train running and burned down a trellis (bridge). Don’t know if it was true but it made me laugh :)

take your upvote and gtfo.

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