History has shown that the method and manner that a company has it’s Network Cables ran is often a good indicator of it’s need for IT support services. The theory is pretty simple, if the network cables are tidy and clean and following standards then somebody is probably looking out for the computers as well. However, if the cables are a mess and generally hacked together, that business probably needs some I.T. Support services.
So here are the best ways to evaluate the network cables to determine the need for additional I.T. Support services, again this is written as WORST case scenario. More often than not you will have some of these even in a well-ran network department.
#1 – An employee desk in a company that has poor network management will be looking at
- cables running down the wall
- cables taped to the floor
- cables that come out holes in the drywall.
- They will probably see lots of tape and thumbtacks used to secure cables to the wall.
- If anything is labeled it will be done with post-it notes or little paper flags taped to the cables.
- The ends of the cables will have fuzzy string poking out and the tension sheathing on the cable will stop short of the actual network connector end. Note: Without the tension sheathing the network connector is being held in place only by the data pairs- very bad!
- The connector ends will have the ‘ears’ broke off from yanking or not using snag-less boots.
- Staff will bend a little U in their cables and set something heavy on it to prevent cables from being pulled out.
#2 – The server room houses all your most secure information. It should have a HIGHER standard of neatness, but will also be subject to considerable growing pains. What you want to look for in the server room is more about function than form. Here are the specifics:
- All ‘Internet stuff’ should be wall mounted and very clearly labeled. When the internet goes down, you need to be able to look at that section of the wall with one glance and know what the issue is because all the indicator lights are facing you and the important ones are labeled.
- After the internet things will understandably get a little messy. There will be dozens if not hundreds of cables in a very small area. However, we want to see the proper cable management tools being used, not just present. Cable concealers and faceplates to servers should always be in place unless maintenance is being done.
- If you are looking at a bunch of stuff that would be in a closet such as wire frame shelves, wooden shelves or non-ventilated cabinets there is a problem. These things are not designed to be flexible with growth and will become very difficult to manage in the future.
- If you see a little slip of paper that has the words ” W/O , O, W/G, B, W/B, G, W/Br, Br” You need to panic. This code should be memorized before a tech leave college, it is the T568B cable standard and getting it wrong is the source of many networking nightmares.
- The temperature of the server room should be comfortable not warm. You probably will not need to buy a dedicated AC unit or air conditioning duct in this room. Dedicated AC unit are expensive, condensate water into the room and will eventually fail. Air Conditioning ducts are more permanent but they have to work really hard to push down the rising heat. What works really well and is affordable is to put a simple bathroom ventilator above the servers. It will pull the rising heat out of the room and draw in cool air under the door. This is a $50 fix that is better for most small businesses than the $1500 solutions mentioned above. But I digress…