Antarctica Dispatch

Journal of my Antarctic experience working to support the United States Antarctic Program.

What I do down here


After reading my Blog, a friend of mine wondered if we get any work done. It seemed we were reliving our college days. Well what's wrong with that.

Work is just that, it's 'work'. Just because I'm doing it at the South Pole makes it unique although sometimes there are some unexpected situations. As the Network Engineer my work is mostly indoors, except for when I need to head out to remote buildings to perform work, which I welcome. Other workers do a lot more outside, and sometimes get frostbite.

Here's an excerpt of my job responsibilities:

The Network Engineer will be primarily responsible for supporting the station’s network infrastructure, including Windows 2003 servers running Exchange, Active Directory, DNS, DHCP, and Veritas backup. There will also be some day-to-day maintenance of the Cisco based gigbit network, wireless network, Call Manager, and VoIP telephones, as well as administering Solaris and Linux servers. Additionally, the new South Pole Station is under construction, and the Network Engineer may have an opportunity to participate in the installation and configuration of new servers and network equipment. This is going to be a one of a kind network environment that will not be duplicated anywhere in the world.

So if you didn't understand all that basically there's a Help Desk person who takes care of general computer issues, a System Administrator who does the next level of computer assistance, and then there's the Network Engineer who has to know it all. There's a whole bunch of systems in the new station, unlike under the Dome, where there was only a small room with just a few servers. It's almost overwhelming at times, but also a great opportunity to learn things that would have taken years. I'm learning stuff like Cisco Call Manager, which uses the same lines used by computers for phone services - VoIP. This technology allows us to make calls back to the U.S. Additionally I'm getting a chance to study all different Microsoft platforms, Cisco networking devices, LINUX operating systems, network security, video/web conferencing, data storage technology, and network management.

Will all this help me get a job when I get back? Who knows, but I can wait to say in the interview, "So, tell me where you worked for your last job?".


At Thursday, August 17, 2006 9:12:00 AM, Anonymous Will said...

You know when we always ask "What is it that you actually do?" we never really expect an answer. - Will

At Friday, August 18, 2006 11:58:00 AM, Anonymous JSK said...

Thanks for explaining your job responsibilities. Now we can tell those who ask what you do.

At Wednesday, September 06, 2006 3:54:00 AM, Anonymous Kimo said...

I thought you were just down there to turn oxygen and hydrocarbons into carbon dioxide and water.


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