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The Two Networks

September 6, 2007

Chris Anderson of Wired writes about the dichotomy of the corporate and open Internet.

On my desk at work I have two ethernet cables. One is black and one is white. The black one is connected to our corporate network. I use that one when I want to print things. I could also use it for Internet access and stuff, but I don’t because the corporate network blocks a number of ports, including those used for Skype and Second Life. It’s also pretty slow.

The white cable, meanwhile, is a standard consumer-grade DSL connection to the Internet, with nothing blocked at all. Our local IT staff installed it by popular demand, possibly without checking with headquarters (we love our local IT staff!). It’s fast. I use it all the time.

I had two cables at my last job. I would switch between the two depending on what I needed to do. I monitored the network and managed my daily activities on the corporate network, but would swap cables to access the stuff that was not the core function of my job. I would constantly be exploring; this was one of the things that made me a great tech. I was able to go wherever my curiosity took me. Sometimes I turned it into positive work related results; other times it was a dead end. Either way I enjoyed the trip and I learned something new.

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