Networking

Cable management: new options

So, last time we looked at the classic approach, but what

other options are available? To be honest, there aren't a great deal of other

options out there—I spent quite some time Googling for innovative new ways of

tackling patch panels and the related tangle of cables; nothing out of the

ordinary appeared; most companies offer a continuation of the aforementioned

clips, ducts and cable tie method of attack. I did come across one interesting

company called NeatPatch—these guys

use a combination of forethought (in the design/layout stage) and discipline

(including having the correct cable lengths) to achieve a very nice end result.

Their layouts also allow excess cable length to be stored horizontally rather

than vertically, which inevitably leads to less mess. NeatPatch also claim to

be the first patch panel system to introduce 'bend radius compliance'—this

relates to any bends in your network cable which in turn can introduce

interference and therefore performance loss on your network (the bend radius is

related to the wavelength of transmissions).

All in all the results look pretty good—here are some samples from the

NeatPatch site:

 



NeatPatch provided this 'Cabling

Guide' which has some interesting information in it and is probably worth a

read if you're interested in the topic.

One other solution I found was PatchView from RiT.

This takes physical cable management to a new level. RiT describe it as an

'Intelligent Physical Layer Management Solution (IPLMS)'. The system is a

combination of the PatchView management software and smart patch panel units;

these include an LED display to guide technicians and LED indicators for each

port. The PatchView software allows all connectivity events/changes to be

reported to a central network management station, immediately alerting the

network administrator to any issues arising; the system can even direct a

technician on what port to connect a new patch and will alert if an error has

been made!

These are obviously different approaches to slightly different problems. The

NeatPatch system addresses the physical problem of cables, mess, and patch

panel spaghetti; the PatchView system addresses the issue of keeping track of

which ports should be patched together, changes made, and tracking down

physical problems. These two systems would probably combine to make a very tidy

and robust solution.

For some tips on good practice while cabling in the server room, take a look at

this weblog (http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/wlg/9263) by Chris Josephes—a sys

admin for Internet Broadcasting.



If you have any advice on keeping cabling tidy, tips and tricks or can suggest

any good cable management products then leave a comment so we can all benefit.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox