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How Not To Get Your Wires Crossed

Aug 20, 2008
There is nothing more irritating then stumbling over a few wires that are all very important in keeping your PC system running. Patch panels, network cables and power supplies alike are the very important source for many of these machines to keep on running at a good speed and good rate, however, if one of these is pulled through sheer honest mistake then the whole thing goes 'kaput', to put it lightly!

This is not such a comical event, especially if they depend upon this to function on top form, for many companies the computing system is the very heart of their companies running, especially if they have all been networked with each other and share client information. The patch panels are what makes the networking happen; these are considered the central point of which the network cables end.

The networks that use patch panels look like a big giant burst of wires all connecting to a hub. The wires connect together with other machines such as computers and printers, making it useful to link each one with other and making it easier to keep each machine communicating with each other. Another use for it is connecting the Local Area Network (LAN) to a Wide area Network (WAN). The fact remains patch panels have become more useful now than ever before and have come a long way since their early switchboard uses during the 1930's and 1940's.

Keeping the wires tidy and in order is the difficult part. The amount of times I have been to the control room or have taken a look at the hub and thought to myself 'how on earth do the technical team manage to resolve any problems in this mass of heaped mess'; this is nothing to the number of times issues have risen over failed network connection or technical problems. However, as much as one may wonder, the technical team manage it and they have a carefully planned action, which has become routine for them.

With each wire I have noticed that they are coloured differently however, some are similar to others. Various wires come in different shapes and sizes, but this still does not prevent people from forgetting and getting confused. A simple solution is to label each wire with a coloured sticker, naming each wire and keeping a note of which machine it is connected to. Another useful tip is to keep a list nearby of the various connections, which machines have been connected and keeping this by the central hub.

As there will be a lot of slack and extra wire hanging about, often these are placed underground or wrapped with a wire tidy. This way there is a reduced amount of pressure and weight, which can often cause the wire to loosen and disconnect. Often heavy duty wires can eventually become loose and droop causing a disconnection due to the weight of the cable. It is a good idea to keep the wire rested from the bottom for the extra give and support so the weight of the wire will not be pulled down so hard.

Another good practise for keeping connections strong and clutter free is to keep the central hub free from obstruction and in a separate unit of the room, so it will not be knocked about and will not have anything leaning against it. Wall mounted encloses are good if you have the space and is recommended for most patch panel connection.
About the Author
Anna Stenning has had plenty of experience with patch panels and network cables which have come loose over time.
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