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Technology Bits

A Tangled Web

posted by Greg Fyn

Nov 12

One of my greatest nightmares going into a place of business to work on a network is finding a cabling job in disarray.

The picture in this post is one of the worst I have seen. Poor grade (and brittle), cables were intentionally tied in knots and labeled with the names of people who had not been with the company for decades.

Suspicions were, that the switch was bad; which proved to be absolutely true, multiple ports were burned out; these were probably shorted with use non-standard pin-outs with home-made hand crimped ends. Each one of these bloody things turned out to be wired differently! To boot some of these home made patch cables had the twisted pairs exposed by over an inch, which would makes them prone to breakage and loose connections.

To put this into business terms any business owner can understand our bill was around $600 for the day and we were only able to put a band-aid on the situation! We never did get to work on the server we were supposed to be working on. I canít imagine how much it cost the company in lost or slowed down productivity to work with such a badly cabled network.

There's a big argument for structured wiring. Correctly wired, each device is clearly identified from the patch panel to the jack. Cables should follow a cable management system to keep them secure and easy to find. Commercially made and certified patch cables connect the patch panel to the switch and the device to the jack. 

When a cable run is installed, it needs to be tested with the proper equipment. This process minimizes the chances that a major problem is going to happen to your endpoint connection makes testing a suspected cabling issue a snap saving your organization time, money and perhaps a headache.