Network cable management done wrong

Having a nice and tidy server room with a properly organized cable system is something that IT people need to be concious of. Re-organizing hundreds of tangled network cables is not what I would call a pleasing task, but unfortunately, it has to be done. Not only will doing so make troubleshooting network problems easier, but it makes you appear more professional in front of your bosses or clients.

Most server rooms I’ve seen (in small to medium businesses) are a usually built with little or no regard for cable management. I don’t have to tell you that such a situation can quickly transform your life into a troubleshooting nightmare, particularly when it comes to network connectivity problems.

Here are a few pictures of what I would call “Cable Hell”:


And now, here’s what your cable-management system should look like:


I understand that making extensive changes could cost a lot of money; fortunately, there are some simple ways to make your patch panel look professional and organized.

1- Make a connectivity map. Put down (on paper) the location of all devices running in your environment and assign them a number.

2- Use these numbers to tag each device and their location on your patch panel.

3- Disconnect all network cables going from the patch panel to the switches and re-plug them in an orderly manner. If you can get your hands on colored cables, use a color scheme to categorize devices. ( I.E. Servers could use red cables, printers yellow ones and workstations could use traditional blue ones.)

Voilà! Now if you’ve done things properly, your cable system should not look like a mess. Just don’t ask me to help you organize your desk – you’re on your own on that one.