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Cleaning Cable Clutter

Updated on June 1, 2017

Despite the movement towards wireless systems in recent years, cables are still an essential part of most computer and network technology today. A direct line is often still the preferred choice for professionals desiring a fast and dependable connection. However, these essential wires tend to get crossed, kinked and knotted, especially when they are frequently moved or used. These conditions can cause excessive wear on the wires, display a cluttered and unprofessional appearance as well as create hazards for the people who work around them.

Maintaining a clean cable system can appear daunting, especially when staring at a massive web of mixed up cords. However, the benefits far outweigh the work and a focused approach using a few simple tools and tricks can tame even the worst messes and keep them organized for years to come.

Why Work Clean?

With large messes of cables out of the open, especially those waterfalls of wires cascading in the server room, it may seem easier just to live and let tangle. After all, it is said that what is out of sight is out of mind. Though keeping a presentable work area is certainly one of the major benefits of maintaining wires and cables throughout the workplace, there are several additional and important reasons for their upkeep.

The most important of these being, of course, safety. Even the most basic computer set-ups can present trip hazards when cords and cables are left to lie about. Not only does this pose a risk to the people who work or spend time in the area, it also puts the hardware itself at risk. An ethernet cable caught around an ankle will topple both its victim and any attached equipment, potentially causing costly damages in both health expenses and hardware replacement.

Beyond preventing accidents, it also extends the life and performance of your cables. Cords that hang slack from the equipment can place stress on the network connection or cause intermittent problems or equipment failure. Cables allowed to pile up individually on the floor are often crushed under feet, wheels or boxes. Keeping them banded and off the ground as much as possible will increase their integrity for a much longer period and require less replacement. The larger equipment benefits as well from improved airflow when cords are kept together away from fans and vents. Moreover, any maintenance can be made much easier with organized cords. This can save both time and money by making needed cables easily identifiable.

Tips For Organizing

One of the first things that should be done to clean up any area is to ensure all the cables and cords are the correct length, or within eleven inches of. This will prevent having to store any additional slack. If a proper length cannot be found and a custom size is not an option, using velcro will ensure that the excess is kept neat. Velcro can also be used for bundling and tying down cables. In fact, most server cabinets provide space to attach the velcro and and help tie the wires down.

Color coordinating and labeling can also help with organizing, particularly when there are several similar cords and ports that need to be referred to often. This can prevent an accidental shut down of systems while checking systems and wasted time searching for the correct wires. It is also helpful to limit the number of people who have access or are allowed to work with computer or server setups.

Thoughtful layouts and careful positioning are also important. Considering the placement of desks or servers and their relation to other fixtures and outlets can make a world of difference in avoiding cable clutter. If vertical power distribution strips are used, place them on one side of the cabinet. These designs should also keep in mind potential expansion, allowing room to grow before growth is needed without being overwhelmed by cables and wires.

Getting Help

If the location does not have a technology specialist capable of completing a cable clean up or the workload is more than a team is able to handle, or even if the task is just simply daunting, there are many groups that can be brought in to round up and organize cable systems. They can often provide greater insight from years of experience and offer individual solutions both commonly known or more obscure.

Once the work is done, however, it is important to maintain the area. The longer that an area is kept presentable, the more return will be found. Remember to make sure that everyone who has access to cables and cords know how to responsibly tend to the wiring and ensure that the proper tools are used and damaged materials are promptly replaced. Sticking to these guidelines will offer a safe and presentable work environment for years to come.

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