Organising your data cabling
Whether you're running a data centre or just connecting the various devices in your home office or living room, an unwieldy tangle of data cable is a fact of life for many. It doesn't have to be, though; proper cable organisation can make it easier to add new devices, troubleshoot problems with an electrician or reorganise your system.
There's no such thing as too much labelling on data cable. If your cable bundles are large enough, you may be able to stick printed labels to them, with corresponding labels on the devices or ports they connect to. Alternatively, colour-coded cable sleeves or simple coloured stickers can help you organise your cables. The more cabling you have, the more detail you'll need on your labels; if you're just connecting up your home office, you may not have more than four or five devices to network, and you won't need much more than simple colour-coding. A full-scale data centre requires much more detailed and consistent labelling.
Use the right length
Overlong cables are a major factor in creating the characteristic "spaghetti bowl" that can be such a nightmare for IT professionals. When you're setting up your systems, measure the distance between the devices you'll need to connect; allow a little extra cable, but not too much. If you don't have metres of extra cable, it'll be much easier to locate the part you need when the time comes.
Cable organisers or conduits are a great way to keep a group of cables going to the same destination neat and tidy. When buying or installing conduits, it's always a good idea to plan for the future. If you're going to install new devices, they're going to require new cabling, and you don't want to have to replace your conduits or cable organisers to accommodate them. You want to keep your cables at just the right length, but when you plan out your organisers or conduits it's best to think big.
One benefit of good cable organisation is heat reduction. Overheating can cause cables to fail, although it's a relatively rare problem. When it does occur, it's usually because one of your cables is buried at the bottom of a pile of cables with no way to shed its heat. Organising cables neatly and giving them room to breathe can cut down on this danger.
Good cable organisation can help you avoid many of the common problems with data cabling. The key is planning in advance rather than simply adding cable in an ad hoc way.