Data Cabling

Making your data centre manageable again

With a little planning and a few best practices, you can avoid the problems and maintenance headaches that come with improper cabling.
Improper cabling can be one of those issues. But with some easy planning and work up front, you can maximize the efficiency and reliability of your data centre cabling.

1: Measure twice, cut once
Not only do you create a tangled mess if you don’t carefully measure your cables, but you also create a lot of expensive waste. You may think that two feet of wasted cable doesn’t amount to much, but those wasted feet add up. Save money, save waste

2: Label everything, both ends!
If you don’t label your cables, you’re only making more work for yourself.

Every cable should have a label on both ends. Why? Imagine you have to test a bunch of circuits — quickly. You scramble and unplug a few patch cables and, when it’s time to reset them back to their default locations, you have no idea where each cable goes. Avoid this problem by taking a little time to slap a label on each end.

3: Don’t skimp on terminations
Don’t buy cheap because they’re cheap and don’t rush through the process of terminating cables. If you have cables that lose their connection if you wiggle them, you need to redo them. If you can’t terminate cables in your sleep, you need to practice. You may think you’re saving time and money. But in the end, you’re going to wind up with a monstrous headache as you troubleshoot all those terminations.

4: Remember to test and only accept 100% pass
After you create a cable, test it! And don’t accept “Star Pass” tests (a test that barely passes). If a test doesn’t pass 100%, redo that cable.

5: Keep patch cables short
You have servers in a rack that are within a foot of each other. Don’t slap three-foot patch cables on those servers — it not only looks bad, but it’s also incredibly inefficient. And if you have an odd length between servers, use your termination (and testing) skills to create patch cables that reach perfectly. With that extra length on your cables, you invite tangles, kinks, and confusion.

6: Color code cables
This may sound a bit over the top but stick with a single colour for your patch cables and cable runs. The only time you should break that rule is when using a specific colour cable for a specific purpose. But don’t use colours randomly. Make sure each colour has a purpose and stay with it. That will make it easier to follow cable runs and troubleshoot issues.

7: Upsize your conduit
Don’t buy conduit sized for what you need NOW. Buy conduit sized for what you will need in the future.

8: Make your design “cable-friendly”
When you lay out your data centre plans, do so in a cable-friendly way. Don’t put a rack in a location where it’s impossible to successfully run cable. Otherwise, you’ll wind up with cable on the floor or hanging from the ceiling. Plan carefully to avoid later disaster. Also, make sure to plan with expansion in mind. This is the #1 mistake data cable engineers make.

9: Separate Cat5 and power lines
Do not run Cat5 and power together.

10: Keep cables cool
Cables get warm and if you have a massive amount of cable, that extra temperature can lead to disaster.

Which company do we recommend?
ACCL is a leading London based communications contractor in the field of structured network cabling, whether your requirements are voice or data. They are here to ensure a quality installation. Contact them here or call 0333 900 0101.

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