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  • Best way to tidy a switch


    We have recently undergone a large network expansion under tight deadlines which has meant we have had to sacrifice tidiness when patching cables back into the switch. We have also moved on to VOIP which means we now have a load of old cat 5 cables for the analogue telephone system mixed in with everything which need to be removed. Basically our switch now looks like it has a cable waterfall pouring out of the front.

    I have the task of tidying it all up & wanted to know has anyone had to do this before, or any suggestions on what would be the best way to attack it? I recon it’s a 2 man job and is gona take 2 days so far.

  • #2
    Re: Best way to tidy a switch

    I had to do this once for a several hundred port office. Fortunately, it was only the data network and not the phone system. Me and one other person stayed after-hours and worked from about 7PM to 7AM. We had the luxury of being able to yank all of the cables out of the switches (Procurve 2800 and 4000 series) and then re-insert them according to length and properly lay the cables through the Panduit cable management canals at the sides of the two post switch rack and between switches. Fortunately, the switches were 24 port and not 48 port which would have made things more difficult.

    I'd say, plan to stay in the server room for about an hour for every switch you own if your cables are wrong lengths, colors and all tangled in a knot. 30 minutes if they're the same color and proper lengths.

    Oh, and when putting the cables back in, work from the bottom up.
    Last edited by Nonapeptide; 18th February 2010, 04:45. Reason: spelling, punctuation
    Wesley David
    LinkedIn | Careers 2.0
    -------------------------------
    Microsoft Certifications: MCSE 2003 | MCSA:Messaging 2003 | MCITP:EA, SA, EST | MCTS: a'plenty | MCDST
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    • #3
      Re: Best way to tidy a switch

      Ditto to Wesley's post but plan what you want to do.

      Are the VoIP Patch leads going to be a different colour to the Data Patch Leads?
      Are there going to be different cable colours for Crossover, Server, Router, WAPs? Makes for easy identification. If the colours are not going to be used to differetiate everything then you will need to label each patch lead (time consuming).

      Make sure you document BEFORE you clear the MDF what is in each port on the Panel. Mixing a data and VoIP port creates 2 problems to solve.

      Depending on the cabinets you have, I would remove the door and side panels before starting any work. Makes for easier access when sheets of glass/PVC & metal do not get in your way.
      1 1 was a racehorse.
      2 2 was 1 2.
      1 1 1 1 race 1 day,
      2 2 1 1 2

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      • #4
        Re: Best way to tidy a switch

        Originally posted by biggles77 View Post
        Are there going to be different cable colours for Crossover, Server, Router, WAPs?
        That reminded me, the recabling project I worked on was made simpler by the fact that the server, SAN and iLO switches were located in the server racks and not in the main network's switch stack. Had the servers and other vital pieces of equipment been intermixed in the stack, it would have made things very complicated.

        Originally posted by biggles77 View Post
        Make sure you document BEFORE you clear the MDF what is in each port on the Panel. Mixing a data and VoIP port creates 2 problems to solve.
        It's also helpful to document what switch ports are 100Mb and 1Gb. We had a mixed network and there were a few clients that we wanted to keep on the Gb network, mostly Macs doing graphic design and pulling large graphic files from network storage. And, very important, map out how far your patch panel blocks are from the switch you want the lines to go into. If I could do it over again, I would have spent a week planning the cable lengths and inventorying how many of each length we needed. As it was we had a lot of moment were we were stuffing a 10 foot cable in a length that only needed a 5 footer. Lots of wasted space makes for bulging cable management panels.

        Originally posted by biggles77 View Post
        Depending on the cabinets you have, I would remove the door and side panels before starting any work. Makes for easier access when sheets of glass/PVC & metal do not get in your way.
        Some other important items to have in your inventory:
        • Snacks. Low sugar, high protein. Bring a turkey sandwich and a V8. Nuts and seeds.
        • Water. Not soda. Not alcohol (please, not alcohol especially when frobbing about with the network. Unless you're Scottish. ). If you have coffee or tea, drink 1.5 times as much water with it.
        • Two cable testers (yes, one will fail)
        • Line toner
        • Twice as many batteries as your devices take.
        • Cell phone charger
        • Hand wipes. Your hands will get astonishingly filthy.
        • Crimpers and 8P8C ends... although you want to avoid doing custom cable work as much as possible.


        And finally...
        • A digital camera, because if we don't get to see before and after pictures I will be sorely disappointed.
        Wesley David
        LinkedIn | Careers 2.0
        -------------------------------
        Microsoft Certifications: MCSE 2003 | MCSA:Messaging 2003 | MCITP:EA, SA, EST | MCTS: a'plenty | MCDST
        Vendor Neutral Certifications: CWNA
        Blog: www.TheNubbyAdmin.com || Twitter: @Nonapeptide || GTalk, Reader and Google+: [email protected] || Skype: Wesley.Nonapeptide
        Goofy kitten avatar photo from Troy Snow: flickr.com/photos/troysnow/

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        • #5
          Re: Best way to tidy a switch

          Originally posted by Nonapeptide View Post
          [*]Water. Not soda. Not alcohol (please, not alcohol especially when frobbing about with the network. Unless you're Scottish. ).


          A Scotsman would re-patch an entire network in an hour by drinking a full bottle of Whisky and then sticking the head on the patch panels until he scared them in to re-patching themselves.
          BSc, MCSA: Server 2008, MCSE, MCSA: Messaging, MCTS
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          Cruachan's Blog

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          • #6
            Re: Best way to tidy a switch

            Originally posted by Nonapeptide View Post
            Water. Not soda. Not alcohol (please, not alcohol especially when frobbing about with the network. Unless you're Scottish. ). If you have coffee or tea, drink 1.5 times as much water with it.
            Alcohol makes it go a whole lot faster and means your guaranteed work for the next month sorting it all out

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            • #7
              Re: Best way to tidy a switch

              Originally posted by cruachan View Post


              A Scotsman would re-patch an entire network in an hour by drinking a full bottle of Whisky and then sticking the head on the patch panels until he scared them in to re-patching themselves.
              And what would Chuck Norris do?

              Actually, a true Scotsman (you can easily check, you know ) would have it very carefully patched in the first place -- never use a long patch cable if you can use a shorter one (wouldn't want to disturb the moths in the wallet too much )
              Tom Jones
              MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
              PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
              IT Trainer / Consultant
              Ossian Ltd
              Scotland

              ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

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              • #8
                Re: Best way to tidy a switch

                I started removing the old telecoms equipment / wiring a while ago so the task wouldn’t be as big when I actually started to re-patch everything.

                01.jpg – This was before I started

                02.jpg – This is where I’m at now (blue patch leads removed)

                03.jpg – This is what I need to sort out tomorrow / Sunday

                I have a question about switch positioning in relation to the patch panel. “Comms-Room-Switch---Before-.jpg” shows what equipment I have


                POE – Power over Ethernet (1u)
                50 Post Switch (1u)
                96 Port Switch (5u)
                Telephone Switch (2u)

                The phones need to have a cat 5 cable plugged into the switch, then to a POE, then another cat 5 cable from the POE into the patch panel.

                Should I bulk all the POE’s together with cable management in between, or stagger them in between the switches?
                Attached Files
                Last edited by Deland01; 9th April 2010, 13:23. Reason: wrong image attached

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                • #9
                  Re: Best way to tidy a switch

                  Holy crap, I am sure I stopped drinking several years ago!!

                  Do you have a documented plan?
                  Do you have the appropriate number of correct coloured and correct length Patch Leads?
                  Do you have any help?
                  Do you have enough time? (Don't forget to add a fiddle factor)

                  Personally I would keep all the POEs together and not stagger them between the switches. Keep like items together but that is just me and I have never had to clean up such a <insert appropriate word here> (coz I can't think of one, sorry).
                  1 1 was a racehorse.
                  2 2 was 1 2.
                  1 1 1 1 race 1 day,
                  2 2 1 1 2

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                  • #10
                    Re: Best way to tidy a switch

                    Oh my....

                    What I would do is first create a proper plan and order enough shorter cables. Then remove all the cables and start over again. Use cable guides and enough Velcro to bind them up.
                    We are just finished patching over 128 UTP cables in our lab environment and it looks pretty neat for an amateur

                    Oh and don't forget to bring a big scissor
                    Last edited by Dumber; 9th April 2010, 17:17.
                    Marcel
                    Technical Consultant
                    Netherlands
                    http://www.phetios.com
                    http://blog.nessus.nl

                    MCITP(EA, SA), MCSA/E 2003:Security, CCNA, SNAF, DCUCI, CCSA/E/E+ (R60), VCP4/5, NCDA, NCIE - SAN, NCIE - BR, EMCPE
                    "No matter how secure, there is always the human factor."

                    "Enjoy life today, tomorrow may never come."
                    "If you're going through hell, keep going. ~Winston Churchill"

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                    • #11
                      Re: Best way to tidy a switch

                      I have the following:

                      350m Cat5 UTP (yellow)
                      500 RJ45 Modular Connector Plugs (network cable ends)
                      x2 Crimp tools
                      x1 cable tester (x2 batteries)
                      Racking Cable management
                      Mapped out the ports on each switch
                      Labelling machine


                      As the majority of the cables in there are yellow I plan to use existing patch leads (yellow), cut to size then stick another cable end on with the crimp tool. This means I only have to do half as much cable making (easier on the finger tips)

                      I have a shed load of patch leads pre-made but want to get as much cable out of the equation as possible so we don’t end up like this again.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Best way to tidy a switch

                        Why would you want to change a thing?! You should donate it to an art museum. It is a thing of true beauty. Bravo!

                        Can the patch panels be moved at all? Is there enough slack in the cable bundles to do that? Ideally, half your switches would be on the left of the patch panel and the other half would be on the right. However, since that doesn't look possible, you could shift the patches down and put half the switches on top and half the switches on the bottom. Or can switches go in that empty four-post on the right? Or all of them? Get Excel out and mock up a good design.
                        Wesley David
                        LinkedIn | Careers 2.0
                        -------------------------------
                        Microsoft Certifications: MCSE 2003 | MCSA:Messaging 2003 | MCITP:EA, SA, EST | MCTS: a'plenty | MCDST
                        Vendor Neutral Certifications: CWNA
                        Blog: www.TheNubbyAdmin.com || Twitter: @Nonapeptide || GTalk, Reader and Google+: [email protected] || Skype: Wesley.Nonapeptide
                        Goofy kitten avatar photo from Troy Snow: flickr.com/photos/troysnow/

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                        • #13
                          Re: Best way to tidy a switch

                          I always use pre-made patch cables. Usually 3, 5 and 7 feet.
                          Marcel
                          Technical Consultant
                          Netherlands
                          http://www.phetios.com
                          http://blog.nessus.nl

                          MCITP(EA, SA), MCSA/E 2003:Security, CCNA, SNAF, DCUCI, CCSA/E/E+ (R60), VCP4/5, NCDA, NCIE - SAN, NCIE - BR, EMCPE
                          "No matter how secure, there is always the human factor."

                          "Enjoy life today, tomorrow may never come."
                          "If you're going through hell, keep going. ~Winston Churchill"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Best way to tidy a switch

                            Ditto on pre made -- the risk of faults with a self made cable is higher and the one place you do not want to be checking for cable faults is in a panel like that
                            Tom Jones
                            MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
                            PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
                            IT Trainer / Consultant
                            Ossian Ltd
                            Scotland

                            ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

                            Comment

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