When I first started working here, our network, or workgroup rather, was laughable. I could see the initial signs of order but everything was in chaos.
Cat-5 cables crisscrossed the building. Inter-departmental networking was non-existent. Sh*t, computers in the same department weren't even connected. To put things in perspective, someone would set up something in Photoshop, save it to a Zip drive and walk over to the computer connected to the printers, plug the drive in and start printing. The humanity! All it would've required was access to a share drive and boom, there you have it.
To make matters even worse, we had dial-up internet. But that was OK, coz they were still laying fiber-optic cables back then, and options were zero as far as broadband was concerned. Only one computer was connected to the web, for emailing purposes. Thing is, everyone else had email addresses too, but only one computer to access them from. And everyone seemed OK with it.
I wasn't having it. From a workflow perspective, it was ridiculous. I'm not even an IT guy, but I couldn't work like that knowing things could be a lot better.
I talked boss-man into purchasing a 10/100 switch with 10 ports, up from a 10MB/s hub. The company was small back then - with less than 10 workstations - and switches were expensive, so we got that one. Otherwise, I would've gone for something with a lot more ports. That made quick work of the networking problem.
Next up was email. Everyone was connected, and everyone had Outlook Express at the very least. There was the small matter of the slow-ass dial-up, but it would have to do. A [relatively] quick internet search brought up a couple dozen internet proxy programs. I tested a bunch of them, settled on one, and that was that.
Over time we acquired more and more computers, but no one seemed to know what to do to get them to talk. Broadband came and only one computer was taking advantage of it. A few more switches and a router and the problems were solved.
Why do I even do this sh*t? I don't get an extra dime for doing all this, which distracts me from my usual workload, but it seems I haven't learned my lesson.
Like, the other day, it occurred to me that everyone & their mama here has a smartphone or tablet, and that the reception in here is next to nil, and that I had a wireless router sitting at home doing nothing. I brought the router over, hooked it up to the network, did all the necessary security stuff, then went and told boss-man about it. First thing out his mouth was: What's it for?