cable-management

Structured Cable Management Nightmare

Have you ever had that moment where you think…if I had only done XYZ I wouldn’t be in this situation now? Or even better, realize that you DID do that, so everything is actually fine?! That’s when you thank your past self and love yourself just a little extra. Well whether you are designing your data center, or attempting to fix what looks like a bunch of rats decided to build a nest out of spaghetti, there are some simple things you can do now to make your future self happy.
Cabling is something that can get out of control very quickly, so having a plan and maintaining organization is imperative. Sadly, even today cable management is nothing but an afterthought, where if you plan ahead it can save you both money and frustration. It’s all about managing your downtime right?
One of the basic tips you may already know is LABEL BOTH ENDS of your cable.
Sure, it sounds like it may be common sense, but as we all know, that doesn’t necessarily make it that common. Maybe it just isn’t something thought of at the time, but gracious can it save you (or your team) in the future, especially in an emergency.
Another commonly uncommon yet helpful thing to do if you have multiple network connections and switches or functions, is to color code the cables to said purpose. This brings us back to the planning ahead aspect of cable management. It may cost a few extra dollars now, and a bit extra time to plan, but the organization this allows can make troubleshooting SO much easier, which will in turn save time which saves the magic word,…money.
Bundle your cables. Over the years many bundling approaches have been used. Some people tape their cables together, many use plastic zip ties. However, velcro ties have been taking over the industry. Plastic wears down or gets cut off, whereas velcro can be tighten and loosened as necessary, without losing the entire form of the bundle. If you can, take a standardized approach to how many cables are bundled together. For example, cables are often bundled are grouped by cable lengths.
Not only is bundling important for cable management organization, it also provides support to the cables. Support is important when you keep with the rule of routing cables at 90 degrees instead of letting them “waterfall” from the device, which leads to loose connectors. Read up on the bend radius of your cables.
Data and power does not equal success, at least when it comes to cabling. Many people don’t realize that power cables create ElectroMagnetic Interference (EMI) due to induction, which leads to problems in data transmission. Network cables should always be kept far away from power cables.
Use as little cable length as possible to reach your target. If there is extra length, it invites extra mess storing the slack. If you’ve reached 12 inches of slack, use a shorter cable. Slack usually leads to kinks in cables which leads to inefficiency.
Something that can easily be overlooked, is try to stay within industry standards. Doing so will make any future reconfigurations simpler. If custom cables are purchased by you or a contractor, be sure to have where they came from and their specs noted. Also…KEEP EXTRA CABLES ON SITE!!!
PSA: Please, implement and document a consistent system, and maintain the procedures going forward. Have no idea why a cable is unplugged? Yes, you do! It says so right here, with a date.