Colin Weeks No Comments

Comms Rack Chaos

How tidy is your comms rack?

Like everything in life, a comms rack can generally become chaotic over time. This is often due to a lack of time, emergency patching, no documentation and possibly some entropy.

itQED were recently involved in a project to provision a new VOIP phone system. As part of this, the network had to be re-vamped to ensure it was able to support prioritised voice traffic end to end. To this end, a number of Cisco PoE (Power over Ethernet) switches were installed in a redundant configuration to provide a stable and resilient network.

The picture below shows the comms rack at the beginning of the work:

Messy Rack

As you can see, the patching had organically grown over time! This can cause a number of problems, including:

  • Patch panel numbering is obscured
  • Changing any patching requires spending significant time tracing each cable
  • Rack doors will not close
  • Documentation is impossible to produce
  • Issues can be difficult to diagnose and solutions can be delayed.

As part of the work the entire cabinet was re-patched allowing:

  • Full documentation
  • Colour coded cables for each resource
  • Full visibility of the patch panel numbering and switches
  • Patching changes are now much easier, taking seconds rather than 15 minutes
  • Tidiness!

(Bearing in mind there was no access to the sides or back of the rack)

Tidy Rack