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Ask Slashdot: Clever Cable Management?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the bartering-with-entropy dept.

Networking 374

sooth... writes "What clever ways have network administrators found to cleanly sort varying length patch cables within IDFs, BDFs, and MDFs or simply wiring closets? Pictures or examples are welcome." Since not everyone is a network administrator, let's expand this to include efficient or clever management of other cables. How do you route your computer cables (internal or external), your entertainment center cables, or any other corded setup?

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The usual way (1)

Kevin Fishburne (1296859) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432772)

Usually through holes in the floor. Better answers welcome.

Re:The usual way (1)

VendettaMF (629699) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432980)

Zip ties. Soooooo many zip ties.

Re:The usual way (2)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433136)

Dental floss, the poor man's waxed "linen" for short runs cable lacing [wikipedia.org] . Zip ties leave ugly bumps every length.

Cheap cable ties (2)

adrn01 (103810) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432778)

If you don't have a thick bundle of cables weighing several pounds, those rolls of light-duty velcro for tying plants to stakes work great for cables. A few bucks per several yards instead of several bucks for a few feet.

Re:Cheap cable ties (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432818)

If you don't have a thick bundle of cables weighing several pounds, those rolls of light-duty velcro for tying plants to stakes work great for cables. A few bucks per several yards instead of several bucks for a few feet.

In more permanent setups, plastic non-reusable cable ties are an even cheaper alternative, assuming there's little need to mess with the cables

Re:Cheap cable ties (4, Informative)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432994)

"In more permanent setups, plastic non-reusable cable ties are an even cheaper alternative"

There has to be a law somewhere in the lines of "the more permanent you think it's going to be your setup, the more times you'll need to reorder it".

In other words, there's no such a thing as a "permanent setup". Unless you are a sociopath don't make the one that follows to hate you and use velcro.

There's also something I'm surprised no one mentioned yet: self signaling cables. They can be color coded and their core glass fiber (well, plastic) makes a breeze to find end points:
http://www.patchsee.com/ [patchsee.com]

Re:Cheap cable ties (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433162)

Nobody wants to pay extra for cables, so no one has mentioned it. Nice plug though.

To avoid cutting wire ties a lot, bundle wires logically.

Re:Cheap cable ties (2)

baffled (1034554) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433014)

An even cheaper alternative for non-permanent setups: old twist-ties from loafs of bread. I keep them in a kitchen drawer for future use. These and color-coded cables seem to work well to keep things organized.

Re:Cheap cable ties (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433088)

That's what I do for personal stuff... Works fine.

Re:Cheap cable ties (1)

sincewhen (640526) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433098)

For my cable management at home (headphones etc) I make my own cable ties from rubber-coated garden wire. You can cut it it the lengths you require, it is kind to the cable yet still twists up securely.

There is now a thinner diameter variation available which is even better for smaller jobs.

Re:Cheap cable ties (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433038)

Put them on backwards and they dont have to be permanent.

Re:Cheap cable ties (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433132)

plastic non-reusable cable ties are an even cheaper alternative

What's wrong with old-fashioned waxy string? A big roll of that lasts for years... /Mutters something about a lawn...

My 3 step process (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37432780)

1) No cat5, I use wireless only.

2) When I do need to run cable, such as telephone wire for my fax machine, I put the cable in the middle of the room. Then I buy a big rug, and place it over the top of the cable.

3) When it's something complicated, like using a ladder, I always call a professional installer. The satellite company always send the most knowledable folks available.

Re:My 3 step process (5, Funny)

indeterminator (1829904) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432838)

+1, Proper Use of Rugs.

Re:My 3 step process (5, Funny)

catmistake (814204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432876)

+5 if it really ties the office together

Re:My 3 step process (1)

Caesar Tjalbo (1010523) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433004)

Additional bonus if the rugs are color-coded when there's more than one cable/rug combination.

Re:My 3 step process (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433046)

Never run your cables under something people can walk over like a rug - NOT a good thing!

Re:My 3 step process (4, Funny)

DeBaas (470886) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433074)

2) When I do need to run cable, such as telephone wire for my fax machine, I put the cable in the middle of the room. Then I buy a big rug, and place it over the top of the cable.

so 5 cables later you've got 5 rugs piled up?

Re:My 3 step process (5, Funny)

dna_(c)(tm)(r) (618003) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433100)

2) When I do need to run cable, such as telephone wire for my fax machine, I put the cable in the middle of the room. Then I buy a big rug, and place it over the top of the cable.

The pro's call that a ruggedized setup.

Re:My 3 step process (1)

Kozz (7764) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433270)

The satellite company always send the most knowledable folks available.

This. We had a guy running some coaxial cable back in my last house. I told him I wanted to run the cable to my corner office of the basement, where, aside from it being finished in the 70's, was in decent shape. He took a drill with a 1-1/2" spade bit and punched a coarse hole right through the paneling on both sides of the framing about 12" above the floor. He didn't even ask about location (he did it on the WRONG SIDE of the door). Not to mention there were rafters and things exposed and the cable could have been run overhead.

What an asshole.

Replaced the noisy tower with an iMac (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37432792)

I understand there are some rare cases where one would need a full PC with lots of cables and peripherals but right now the only thing hanging from my desk is the power cord.

Everything should be all-in-one, I'm now convinced of it.

Re:Replaced the noisy tower with an iMac (2)

manicb (1633645) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432852)

I have an iMac, it's about 5 years old. The sound card isn't adequate for music production, and indeed has actually started making strange noises, so I have a USB audio interface. The superdrive can read DVDs but not CDs any more, so I have an external firewire optical drive. With a power supply. 3 USB ports is not adequate, so I have a USB 2.0 hub. With a power supply. And still not really adequate, as I have at least three devices that *have* to be on the main bus. The internal 160Gb hard drive is no longer adequate, so I have an external firewire drive for my music projects. WIth a power supply. I also need a backup drive, so I have another USB drive. With a power supply.

I suppose if they'd made it a bit less intimidating to open and work on I could have replaced the optical and hard drives, but in a tower *all* of this stuff could sit inside the case and run off one power supply. And might actually mount consistently. Next computer: 2nd-hand Mac Pro or a new Linux build. Much less clutter.

Re:Replaced the noisy tower with an iMac (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433260)

Next computer: 2nd-hand Mac Pro or a new Linux build.

For music production? Please stick with the Mac Pro.

I've bought a new Mac Pro for my project studio every few years since they came out and with Logic Studio and a good audio interface they are the finest production machine ever made. I have resisted throwing away the old ones, so they are lined up in my server closet.

It looks like a Castro Street production of Fritz Lang's Metropolis.

However, if you get a Linux build too, you should try a DAW app called Cockos' Reaper. You can use the Linux box to offload your real-time effects and even VSTi processes. Also, use it to stream samples and render masters. Look for "ReaMote".

Re:Replaced the noisy tower with an iMac (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37432894)

And if your microphone in your iMac breaks, you have to give your entire computer to Apple for repair ;)

Re:Replaced the noisy tower with an iMac (1)

shitzu (931108) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432998)

I have not seen a broken microphone in my 20 year IT career.

Re:Replaced the noisy tower with an iMac (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432948)

Yeah if you like throwing away money! my PC is going on 3 years old now, its gone from a dual to a quad, gone from 2Gb to 4Gb to 8Gb of RAM, gone from IGP to HD4650 to HD4850, and from a 500Gb to 2 500Gb to 1Tb to 3Tb of HDD. For you to do the same you would have had to toss your machine at least twice, possibly more. Talk about wasteful!

The easiest and cheapest way if the wires aren't needing to be moved is simple plastic zip ties. they are dirt cheap, once in place won't be coming off, and can quickly clean up even the biggest mess. And I should know as having a 4 port KVM switch does tend to get messy. But by having them zip tied there is only a single KVM cable neatly tucked under my table for when I want to play with a machine not on my network, everything else is zip tied to the back of the desk. easy peasy.

Pastels! We need pastels! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37432794)

Well, the obvious choice are different cable colors. This is easy to get with Ethernet cables. Another trick I did is buy a label writer and label both ends of a cable (by wrapping the label around the wire so it is a little "banner"). I do this for my power supplies, so I see which plug belongs in which device on top of the table, and which power supply I have to unplug (particularly useful if you have several hard disks from the same manufacturer, or ones where the power supply comes from a completely different company).

Also, I have a roll of velcro that I use to group together cables.

Re:Pastels! We need pastels! (1)

grim4593 (947789) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433026)

Labeling power supplies is a good idea. I had a laptop and an external hard drive that used the same sized barrel jack. One day I accidentally swapped them. The laptop didn't care but the external hard drive fried with 19V instead of 12V and I lost everything on it.

Re:Pastels! We need pastels! (1)

emj (15659) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433300)

The interesting thing is what do you name you cables? I always move them around so "router"/"vacumcleaner" won't do, so I name my cables things like "Chrysophylax" or "Tintaglia"

good cable management (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37432802)

Ensure your racks are capable of good cable management - the racks I spec always have horizontal or vertical cable management capabilities. This counts especially when you deploying racks with a high density of ports combined with a large switch such as a cisco 4510 or 6513 (or 9x3750's).

Tie wraps (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37432806)

or whatever they're called in your local slang.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cable_tie

Use velcro cable ties (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37432808)

Velcro cable ties are cheap, easy to use and simple to remove when required. It is amazing how much tidier the cables look when you have tied them up. It also makes cleaning around your electronics much easier.

The best way to buy Velcro cable ties is in a large roll where you can cut off the sizes you need.

Re:Use velcro cable ties (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432916)

I usually buy cheap velcro which comes in two separate roles than glue them back-to-back, but I've never found any two-sided velcro in stores (apart from the expensive pre-cut ones). Is there any better cheap way of dealing with velcro?

Re:Use velcro cable ties (1)

fitteschleiker (742917) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432940)

Sewing shops usually have two sided velcro in big rolls, sold by the meter.

Re:Use velcro cable ties (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433112)

Like this [amazon.com] ?

Zip ties. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37432810)

Cheap zip ties, 2 - 3 per meter.
Tie like cables together, (power cables all going towards the same place? zip 'em together. cables coming out of a computer and staying together for a meter round the back of the desk, together!).
When ever you have to have something in a place that it may encounter something to yank it (like a passing foot), spool some slack at each end (but avoid this, run along walls, under rugs etc.).

Unused cables (1)

audunr (906697) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432816)

For unused cables that you keep in a drawer, use zip-lock plastic bags to keep them separated.

Re:Unused cables (1)

squeakyneb (2464150) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432828)

That would work very well for small cables (or big bags).

Re:Unused cables (1)

Coolhand2120 (1001761) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432886)

They make some pretty large zip lock bags [ziploc.com] , and they're great at keeping your cables from fornicating.

Re:Unused cables (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433172)

Keeping unused cables in a drawer is evil. Likewise, keeping them in crates. At home I have three twelve gallon crates and a milk crate of cables. No, I don't know where anything is. Last time I was in IT I had a pegboard for cables. I cannot stress enough that you need a pegboard, or something quite similar for storing cables. Then a classic coil wrap will hold them until you need them, with no ties.

If I were designing from scratch a home cable storage system I would hang a pegboard someplace, maybe on something like a door so that it could be double-sided. But I don't have room for anything like that :) Maybe something like a coat tree, but with more points. My cable collection defies categorization (if I see a weird computer-related cable cheap someplace like a flea market or yard sale, I pretty much buy it) so the mishmash approach makes as much sense as anything. I keep a few patch cables floating amidst the chaos so I have some handy :p

Don't do what I do :D

Velcro! (5, Interesting)

IversenX (713302) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432824)

I found a solution which I'm pretty happy about.

Take a good piece of double-sided velcro (that will bond to itself), about 10-20cm. Get a short, screw with a large, flat head. Put the screw through the middle of the velcro strip, and screw it onto the underside of your table, somewhere out of sight. Rinse, repeat.

Now you have velcro loops that can carry all your wires really neatly, with infinite and easy reconfigurability.

(Initially, I tried gluing / velcroing the velcro strips on. It never lasted, so I went with screws instead. That really works!)

Do not forget Plastic Spiral Cable Wrap! (1, Interesting)

operator_error (1363139) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432882)

http://www.lmgtfy.com/?q=plastic+spiral+cable+wrap [lmgtfy.com]
Used to group sets of cables, relatively discretely.

Re:Do not forget Plastic Spiral Cable Wrap! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37432934)

FYI, don't use lmgtfy in links. The WHOLE POINT of links is to assist people in locating information, and you're kind of being a dick who can't use the web by NOT providing that assistance (no offense, it applies to us all). So providing that assistance indirectly, with a slow, tedious lmgtfy link is almost as bad.

Re:Do not forget Plastic Spiral Cable Wrap! (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433150)

spiral wrap sucks ass for anything you will touch more than once. might as well zip tie it, at least you can clip those off fast.

Re:Velcro! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37432888)

We use this method as well.
For the Noc desk however we also use document binders (clips with a metal loop to spread them) to hold the rj45 plug. One clips it on the desk (like the desk is a document) and put the cable trough the metal loop.
This way one can have multiple network cables (different lans e.g.) hanging loose without looking like a mess.

Re:Velcro! (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433218)

stapler works fine for attaching the velcro too, easier than screws.

Magnets. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37432826)

Just magnets, ok?

Luser alert! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37432844)

There are /. users that aren't network admins? Who let them in???

Re:Luser alert! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37432914)

There are /. users that aren't network admins? Who let them in???

Define "Network admin."

I have a network at home I manage. That makes me a network administrator. Then of course there's the server farm...

Re:Luser alert! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37432924)

Who let the scum of the earth network admins in? They are about as low on my scale as French Canadians !

Re:Luser alert! (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432930)

What is this network guy doing up here above ground? Somebody forgot to lock the basement door again?

Re:Luser alert! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37432936)

the programmers

Horizontal cable management (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37432848)

We specify 1U of cable management (ie, a 1U panel with open rings on) per 2U of patch panels. If you get the horizontal management sorted out the vertical is much easier. If you're dealing with large numbers of cables then vertical cable management is also needed if only to relieve the weight of the cables from pulling on the connectors. Ideally, have separate cable management for fibre than for copper. The weight of a couple of dozen Cat6 cables pulling on a fibre lead can damage its connectors.

A label printer will also be worth its weight in gold. I label all cables that go between infrastructure devices (routers, switches, firewalls etc) and/or to servers and other important boxes. At both ends. Make a plan for the code on the label - comms room / rack / rack position / index works for me. Don't put server name or role on a label (unless you only have a few servers) as they change too frequently. The only cables we don't label are the ones going out to desktop connections because they move too frequently. Make it a recurring task in your calendar to go round all the patch panels every month and look for any infrastructure cables that have moved or are unlabelled and label them.

I know some places that use different cable colours to denote different services but it can become annoying as you never end up with the right number of the right colour of cable and end up using the "wrong" one. If I was still mixing analogue lines, ISDN lines and data then I would use different colours.

At home I use velcro cable ties by the dozen for anything that is likely to stay in one place.

Re:Horizontal cable management (1)

JacksonG (82656) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432956)

I had a situation where we had token ring, ethernet and voice all in the same patch frame once. Rather than getting huge supplies of different coloured cables in lots of different lengths myself and a colleague just got some large packs of very small cable ties in a variety of colours and would then just put a little coloured collar around each end of the cable in the frame to indicate the type of data it was carrying.

If you don't have the budget for an every port live situation or you have an environment where you have multiple use frames then the cable management bars between each pair of panels and switches are the best way I've encountered along with decent space for cables at the side of the cabinets [ie don't use 600x800 or 600x1000 cabs, or any other depth for that matter, always go for 800x versions so you have room at the sides.

Another situation I had to deal with was where we had multiple frames between end points in a data centre [don't ask - bad design!] and lots of glass to glass fibre patching. What we did was put a label tag on each end of the cable, on one side was the ultimate source/destination patch points and the other side was the source/destination points in the local cabinet so we could easily trace a cable through the mess of patching without manually tracing each cable.

Ultimately though in 20 years now I've not found a really good way to make patch frames that get used on a regular basis look tidy except making sure the entire building uses ethernet for just about everything from telephony to the building management and getting the budget to make every single data point live [and introduce lots of redundancy] and then mounting the switches between the patch panels and using tiny 20cm patch leads to plug every single port into it's neighouring patch port.

Re:Horizontal cable management (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433238)

Cable colors for external and internal network is still a good idea, avoid any 'accidents' if you have 1000's of servers.

I disagree about labeling with server name. Do both name and 'bay code', so that in case your book documentation is wrong you still have one last chance to verify you are yanking the right machine.

And yes, velcro is better for cable if you change it often. Zip ties if you rarely/never change it

Velcro wraps... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37432854)

velcro wraps, they actually have them for cable management.

sure you can use zip-ties, but zip-ties if drawn too tight can bind cable, and cause broken leads, which means "OH SHIT MY INTERNET DOESNT WORK" somewhere in the building. though for costs reasons I'd say go with those, the type with tags on them, and get a tool designed to tighten zip-ties so they dont get too tight. you can get them with screw holes in them too to keep them locked to the wall or surface.

note: this is for the immediate area in the server room/phone closet

for above the false-ceiling runs, use j-hooks and velcro straps. that way you can add cable later, and the cable is cleared from everywhere else.

or if you have some real money to spend, use conduit. Conduit is the best way to go as rodents have a hard time trying to chew through conduit.

Cable snake (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432922)

Velcro wrap, also cable snakes for professional jobs. People dont care about seeing cables, they just want them out of the way. A short length of cable snake [ergonomics...lia.com.au] does just that. Clients are almost always happy to see one big cable snake then 6 or 7 smaller power/network/video cables.

As for home, I use the cable ties that came in the box at strategic points. Occasionally sticky tape but normally I cant be arsed.

Re:Cable snake (1)

Skal Tura (595728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433144)

Cable snake seems expensive and clumsy compared to spiral cable binder/wrapper, which is cheap and easy :)

Re:Velcro wraps... (1)

Skal Tura (595728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433140)

How do you manage to tighten a zip tie too tight? oO; Are you using stainless steel ones and pliers to tighten it?
I've never managed to damage a cable by tightening a zip tie around it, not even 20+ yo car wires zip tied.

Re:Velcro wraps... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433178)

They DO make zip tie pliers, which have no purpose in life but to tighten zip ties. I've damaged wires with zip ties before. Some laptop power cables in particular have very soft jackets.

I have another, related question: (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37432868)

How do you manage the pile of external power supplies for hard disks, routers, switches, phones, etc.? Is there some way to power external computer peripherals from the ATX power supply? I have a bunch of 12V 2A wall warts that keep drawing power even when the attached device is off. I think I should be able to power these devices from the ATX 12V rail, but I can't seem to find a product that allows me to safely attach external devices to the internal power supply.

Re:I have another, related question: (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433310)

I minimize that issue rather than eliminate it.
I simply have all of my power cords (tower, monitor, router, printer) plugged into a surge protector which is then plugged into the wall.
However, I once opened an external hard drive enclosure and put the actual drive inside the tower. There it's hooked up like any other external part.

Are devices that draw power via USB any easier for you?

I Don't!!! (1)

konmpar (1822540) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432870)

Simple, i don't!

lets say i have a corner in my room that never approach or mess with! never! and every new cable is passing through this corner.

simple as that!

Re:I Don't!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37432960)

"my" room. Cute. Pro-top, it's not "your" room, it's your parents'.

Easy Peasy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37432880)

WiFi

Cable... Management? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37432892)

Twist-ties and duct tape. What else would you need?

Don't, you make it hard for the next guy to fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37432904)

Keep them relatively neat in the patch panel, but overly tidy and cables that have been bundled together with cable ties are a troubleshooting nightmare. Having both vertical and horizontal cable management helps... You shouldn't plan for the cables to be there forever because they won't be. Something will break and someone will go a patching or you will upgrade the switch and so on and so forth.

The plastic solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37432906)

Self adhesive cable tie holders + cable ties + twist-lock cable ties.

Stick tie-holders to available suface (desk), zip-tie cable rings in, put wire in ring, twist to lock.

Vary recipe components to suit cable amount and diameter.
Granted, it adds a level of indirection (I think you can get self-adhesive twist-lock ties), but increases maintainability, because you can switch to bigger twist-lock ties easily.

Cable management thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37432910)

Zip ties and twisty ties are evil. Your successor will hate you if you use those to manage your cabling. When you need to reorganize a cabinet and everything is zip tied together it becomes a nightmare.

Use Velcro. End of story.

Also cabling by coloring is a great idea if all of the admins on your team aren't color blind...

Re:Cable management thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37432954)

using scissors is just too damned hard

Labelling cables (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432950)

A short length of scotch tape or painters' tape at either end of the cable allows easy labelling of cables.

Re:Labelling cables (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433156)

Both of those tapes are specifically designed for easy removal. Do you really think they're still going to be attached a year or two later when you have to do something with the setup?

Surely there's a label printer out there that just prints directly to the cable...

Small tips (1)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432952)

Check if some kind of frame runs under your table - you can zip-tie all sorts of stuff to it, such as a laptop power supply. Try also not to leave cables lying on floor, as they collect dust.

Art (1)

EnsilZah (575600) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432974)

In my case [imageshack.us] I just connect one end to one device, the other end to the other, keep adding stuff as needed and then charge admittance as installation art.

Loads of cable ties! (4, Interesting)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433016)

I think cable ties [wikipedia.org] are a great way to reduce the chaos in a pile of spaghetti-style cables.

Some people dislike them, but I think they are just not accustomed to using them. Proper use of cable ties means you are not afraid to use a LOT of them, and also not afraid of cutting them open when you need to change someting. I keep a cheap diagonal cutter and a bag of assorted cable ties in every desk drawer in my house (3 "kits" in total).

Its easy to work with, extremely flexible, and best of all: cheaper than most of the fancy "solutions" you can buy.

Just stop being afraid of cutting them open when you need to!

- Jesper

Re:Loads of cable ties! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433082)

I'm a network administrator, I use cables ties...often. I used to work for a company that does wiring harnesses, we used them every minute of every hour of every day.

Forget about cable ties, you want velcro ties: http://www.amazon.com/Velcro-Reusable-Self-Gripping-Inches-91140/dp/B001E1Y5O6 or http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=105&cp_id=10520&cs_id=1052003&p_id=5815&seq=1&format=2

THOSE are what we use when we have semi permanent installations like network closest's where things may be changed or around desks. Cable ties are reserved for absolutely permanent installations (like running network cables to a new room/rooms/building).

Re:Loads of cable ties! (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433102)

How do you deal with the sharp edges on the cut? Categorically snip everything if you're gonna touch it in any fashion?

Just stop being afraid of cutting them open when you need to!

Oh there's plenty of cutting open involved, mostly of your hands...

A tool that burned the end off would probably be safer, other than the plastic fumes.

Re:Loads of cable ties! (1)

Ja'Achan (827610) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433158)

I haven't tried this, but wiki says [wikipedia.org] you can "open without cutting it, the ratchet box can be crushed vertically using pliers.".

Re:Loads of cable ties! (1)

Skal Tura (595728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433164)

Diagnocal / side cutters are way safer than any burning method. If it burns the zip/lock it can burn the cable.

You can remove the locker, or directly cut the tie. You just keep your eyes open and no wires cut, no hands cut :) and the cutting portion of those is so small anyways they are quite safe, unless your fingers are the size of ethernet cable.

In any case, if you are unable to use side cutters safely, you maybe shouldn't touch any kind of tools.

Re:Loads of cable ties! (1)

rathaven (1253420) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433126)


I'm not convinced. I often use cable ties but I use them as a last resort or a short term measure where, IMHO, decent structured cable management has not been put in place.

I find that cable ties are just another thing to get cables caught on and to cut your hands to shreds when feeling around in the mass of cables to find the one you want with the way people cut the excess tie length off leaving sharp ends. Cable tray and velcro, vertical cable rings, horizontal cable management bars, well defined cable routes recognising the choke points and planning for management of it, using the right length cable for the job and well labelled cables are the real tools for good cable management. My advice is to never skimp on cable management or practice and to be strict with people doing cabling (including yourself) to ensure what is done meets the standards you set yourself or others.

Re:Loads of cable ties! (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433134)

Velcro ties do something similiar, are reusable, cheap as well. The proble with your basic cable tie comes when you need to add or change a cable. If it's a medium size, you need quite a decent cutter, and then you need to cut them all and used new ones - when adding cables, I've seen people forgo the cutting step and just add more and more cable ties around the existing bundle, it becomes a nightmare if you need to access one in the middle.

It starts at construction. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433036)

Cable management in racks is something that needs to be built at the time the racks are put in place.There are a variety of wiring enclosures that make the whole length of the rack on both sides with access doors . About 6 inch by 6 by the height of the rack.That helps because you simply loose the extra length in that box.by having one on each side and cable guides between the patch panels to route the wires out of the way to the side boxes. Pretty much solves most troubles , it's just got to be built in when the data center is put up.Use velcro thoroughout the racking and for the wiring trays.Velcro helps for the simple reason it won't damage the cabling like tight tie wraps can The width of the tie distributes the pressure and it's easy to add/remove cables. On the matter of tables , gawd what a mess .. ! If you like the idea of velcro and wish to use it neatly you can get small pieces ( panduit makes them ) that you screw on the underside that are shaped to accept a peice of velcro already made.It's more gentle on the velcro and looks more professional . Not to mention that those small parts can also be mounted in rack screw holes etc Bunches of models.Trick again is to plan ahead the data center before you get the racks etc to include what will make life easy.To try to add or correct later may be a difficult proposition.

gday
 

Answer: (1)

hellop2 (1271166) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433044)

Free twisty-ties from the grocery store.

Clever Patch Cable Management (1)

Siggy200 (721326) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433048)

I use the cable tie method using stick on mounting squares and loose loops of the ties under the desk.

Potted Plant Hangers: (3, Interesting)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433052)

At one job where I had little ability to run cables under the floor/through the walls, but had a bunch of thick multi-microphone cables plus a few other types to run I made my own "hanging cable tray" using upside-down potted plant hangers I found at Lowes, [wroughtironhaven.com]

I was only going to run them from the punch-down panel to the first audio rack, the client liked the idea so much they bought more and ran them all the way to the wall for the cables they didn't hire me for.

Velcro, good cable trays, and use of color. (3, Interesting)

Monoman (8745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433062)

Cable ties are too permanent. I have seen too many times where they get cut off to trouble shoot and never put back for various reasons. Use Velcro to bundle up the cables because it is easier to take off and put back on when needed. No tools required.

Choose and use good cable management trays. There are lots of choices. Decide if you want the trays to have covers or not. I like the horizontal trays to be the type without covers and the verticals to have wide gaps with hinged covers.

I don't like the Panduit Panduct type stuff (http://www.panduit.com/Products/ProductOverviews/WiringDuct/index.htm) because they require you to cut tabs out for passing more than a few cables in and out at a time. They also tend to tear up your cuticles when working with them. Also, the covers snap on and off and people put the smaller horizontal ones in the weirdest places. -- Hard to find.

You can use different cable colors for identifying certain things in your environment (wireless, printers, servers, etc). If you can't justify buying all of the cables sizes you need in all of the different colors then you can use colored tape or some other type of identifier like plastic tags. You have plenty of options.

Lastly, limit access to the wiring closets only to those that need it, have been trained, and are held responsible if it becomes a mess.

Re:Velcro, good cable trays, and use of color. (1)

craig.chadwell (2464180) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433122)

Really good suggestion - if you're not so much interested in designating specific devices to specific patch cable colors, then color-coding on patch cable length creates a relatively quick visual indication of the sizes you have in a bundle. I generally leave the bundle draped across the horizontal ladder racks in the closet secured with velcro.

The zip ties comment is also spot on. Especially from panels to network hardware or from panels to panels, velcro is more costly but so much more flexible in the long run.

There is a pretty good Panduit product called NetRunner which has pretty solid plastic fingers with about an inch between each finger for routing cables horizontally. The fingers have beveled edges so you aren't constantly scratching your knuckles in the cases where you have dense quantities of cables to route.

Re:Velcro, good cable trays, and use of color. (1)

Skal Tura (595728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433168)

putting new ones is the key tbh. Lazyness is not a form of cable management by definition ;) and lazy ppl don't bother to do cable management in the first place.

Re:Velcro, good cable trays, and use of color. (1)

king0lag (1243544) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433272)

putting new ones is the key tbh. Lazyness is not a form of cable management by definition ;) and lazy ppl don't bother to do cable management in the first place.

Yeh bro i h8 lazy ppl.

My Set^ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433066)

-Shower Curtain rod covers for concealing [and easy insertion/removal of wires]. [http://www.homehardware.ca/products/300/83159401.jpg]
-Plastic d clips[1] with 1 hole widened to accept screw plugs[2] to affix to wall, but still open-able.
[1. http://images.esellerpro.com/2328/I/589/85/pic_750_p-clip_01_a.jpg mine are white]
[2. http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQJi_M7A5RWZJzByCcpOTf5lkBACGOjUXENgaDD0EOofqO7yYaa1A]
-Loose wiring concealed under puzzel carpet. [http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQQbnLvfwUbMDocCG7_GXHmnNyHyEIyHN4sHTLuWbCmkHh7R_3z]
In my hallway, I also have a 25 foot blue rope light in with the wires, low light floor lighting for night time, for movie night

save on hardware (1)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433092)

Straps and brackets cost too much. We pay one tech to find cables [nyte.com]

Simple: Get Married! (1)

digitalderbs (718388) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433192)

if you can...

toilet paper rolls (4, Informative)

Maglos (667167) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433216)

Saw this on reddit a little while ago: http://www.shelterness.com/diy-cable-organizers-of-toilet-paper-rolls/ [shelterness.com]

Re:toilet paper rolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433336)

Cable management, in regards to this Ask Slashdot, is about managing cables that are live and plugged in, and how to get them to all lay properly and neatly, together.

Side-cutters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433236)

Though I guess that's the realm of the Network Engineer rather than that of Administration.

Use toilets paper tubes to collect small cables (1)

emj (15659) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433266)

I use toilet paper tubes for organizing small cables [lifehacker.com] , it makes it very easy to find that cable to that old phone you just gave to that friend. The most important thing is to keep all the connectors on the same side of the roll, so you really get the right connector on both ends of the cable.

old school punchdown blocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433294)

I have no idea why more people don't use old-school punchdown blocks for CAT5. The cross connects are fraction of the bulk and weight of full CAT5 patch cables, and they're always exactly the right length.

Colour coding, velcro, brady labels (1)

SpankyDaMonkey (1692874) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433302)

Disclaimer: I do this for a living I run a medium-sized datacentre, and my job is to plan new installations for anything from pizza-box servers to full mainframes. Here is a few lessons that I've learnt the hard way. Fighting human nature By nature people are lazy and interested in the quick fix. As soon as you compromise and let 1 'quick fix' through - it turns in to a production cable that you are then stuck with until it's time to decomission the system. Do not compromise - do it right the firs time, every time. Brady Labels These are the self-laminating wrap-round labels for cabling. Label everything with at a minimum the source and destination ports (along with a patch panel port if needed). This brings 2 major benefits - when it comes time to cable everything is already planned and so you just need to follow the labels, and secondly if there is ever a problem you don't spend hours tracing where each cable runs back to. Cable Ties Cable ties are fundamentally evil. Do not use cable ties. Wrapstrap is a better product (no affilitation with this product) - http://www.rapstrap.com/ [rapstrap.com] Velcro Velcro is your friend. Buy in bulk. Keep a stock. At home I nail small 3" to 4" pieces at the back of each desk for instant cable management. Cable Lengths Check what lengths you can get from your supplier - you should have a stock of 1m to 4m patch leads at 50cm intervals as a minimum. Use the right lengths. Colour coding Establish a colour coding scheme and stick with it - colour code for primary and secondary networks, colour code for firewalls, colour code for management, colour code for uplinks to additional infrastructure. Colour coding is your best way of verifying and proving that you have full redundancy to each device. OCD is an occupational hazard Yes - the job will make you feel like you have premanent CDO (the letters should always be in alpabetical order) - but the first time you have a problem that you can solve in minutes instead of hours by following the general guidelines above you will be glad you have it.

Cheap cable trays = plastic guttering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37433340)

Subject says it all, but I'll add to it anyway. I've used regular vinyl home guttering as a cheap method of horizontal cable trays. The support clips do their job from underneath, leaving the top completely open. It's easy to cut to length.

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