I've Inherited a Cabling Nightmare. What Do?


Whether you've been there or not yet, cabling problems happen to everyone at somepoint. In no particular order here are some suggestions that have been helpful over the years-

  1. Can any of the equipment in those racks be eliminated, upgraded or consolidated? It's hard to tell what's there, but in my experience these kinds of messes tend to be aggravated by gear that should have been pulled out years ago.

  2. Once you've got some idea of the minimum set of equipment then consider how best to lay it out. The criteria here may vary, but grouping by technology type or business function might make sense. Clearly the proximity of high density devices (i.e. switches) and patch panels and such will immediately be apparent.

  3. Use cable management!!! There are both horizontal and vertical cable management solutions. Use both - horizontals around patch panels and other significant concentrations, verticals next to switches and to facilitate risers.

  4. It's always surprising, but how power cables are routed should be considered. UPS units in the bottom of racks, PDU selection and diversity all need to be considered before pulling a cable.

  5. Keep inventory of common cable lengths. It's late at night and you want to go home. A 3' cable is what's necessary but the closest you have handy is 5'. This is how these kinds of messes develop.

  6. Documenting is part of the game, but the importance of labeling cannot be overstated. With clear labels and efficient/clean cabling the number of mistakes will be vastly decreased and troubleshooting simplified.

  7. Limit who can pull cables!!! Differing styles and degrees of attention to detail can yield chaos pretty quickly.

If you have any comments, feel free to post them below or find us on Twitter and Facebook!

Until next time!

January 27 2020

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