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LAN & WAN How To

Cabling Do's and Don'ts

While unpacking, setting up, and breaking down all of your network equipment, it's important to keep a few things in mind when handling cables:

  • Unpacking
    Make it a policy that as you remove each cable from storage, immediately check it with an Ethernet cable tester. Check continuity, check for kinks in the cable and other general problems that could lead to trouble later. If a cable doesn't test out perfectly, hit up your cable reserve - you can mess with the broken one later when you have more time.

  • Placement
    After you've tested and replaced any defective cables, use a numbering scheme where rows have a number, and put a label on each end of the cable indicating the table it's running to. Then insert that cable into the matching number port on your core switch.

    Example: Table 1's switch should have a cable labeled #1 on both ends and then plugged into port #1 on the Core switch. This will help later if you are forced to make an emergency cable replacement, since you won't have to trace the cable down to the Core to see what needs to be disconnected. (Figure 8)

Match up table and port numbers

Figure 8: Match up table and port numbers

If any Ethernet cables have to cross a walkway, try to converge them into a single location. Then route them across the floor covering them with lots of duct tape (preferably the yellow-and-black-striped safety kind) or better yet under a long rubber door mat duct-taped down. This not only protects the cables, but keeps gamers from tripping and possibly injuring themselves. It's also a good idea to tape down the cables to the floor near the core switch to further prevent snags from potentially pulling the core switch into the floor causing serious damage to one of the most expensive switches you will own.

  • Rolling and storing cables
    When rolling up cables, be careful not to jerk them or put stress on either of the ends - especially if the ends are not booted and the clip can snag another cable or a table leg and break off. Broken tabs don't properly secure the plug in the jack and can result in hard-to-find intermittent problems. Finally, it's okay to use whatever shape you prefer to wrap the cable as long as you don't bend the cable tightly into any sharp angle, like a 90-degree angle. This will break the conductors inside and unless you have x-ray vision, essentially ruin the entire cable!

Treat your cables right

Figure 9: Treat your cables right

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