Rat Nest

Structured Cabling Hell: The Most Compelling Cases

By definition, structured cabling is the use of a number of standardized cabling elements or subsystems in an orderly infrastructure for data and voice communications. The opposite of structured cabling is, of course, unstructured cabling — two words that can strike fear into the heart of even the most stalwart of IT professionals.

If you’ve worked in network services for any length of time, you’ve probably stumbled upon at least one breath-taking cable tangle – perhaps some LAN and WLAN cabling crisscrossing phone lines, draped over server racks and burying switches. Here are some prime examples of structured cabling nightmares — which should serve as cautionary tales to system administrators everywhere.

cascading structured cabling nightmare

Cabling seems to be sprouting like vines from this rack. Source: http://www.dotcom-monitor.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/purple.jpg

Structured Cabling Hell

This cabling mess appears to be spreading from one rack to the next. It is about as unstructured as structured cabling can get. Source: http://www.dotcom-monitor.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/1st.jpg

data center structured cabling nightmare

The laptop in this photo looks like it’s about to be devoured by a cabling monster. Source: http://www.dotcom-monitor.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/rats-nest.jpg

There are several valuable lessons to be learned from these cabling nightmares:

1. Every structured cabling installation eventually needs to be modified.

That is why it’s important to have structured cabling specialists design and install your network infrastructure. A well-engineered IT cabling system makes it easier and more cost-efficient to scale and meet changing bandwidth needs in the future.

2. Adding more infrastructure is not always the right answer.

Adding more functionality to a network does not always mean more cabling. As we have seen in the examples above, that can often lead to an expensive and time-consuming mess. Properly designed and installed structured cabling enables you to integrate the latest technologies and stay competitive without creating your own cabling nightmare.

3. Good cable management is important for a robust, flexible, structured cabling system.

Cable management tools such as ladder racks, cable trays, raceways and identification tags make your structured cabling installation more organized and visually attractive; they also save time and money when servicing and upgrading.

Even the most state-of-the-art IT network hardware is only as good as the structured cabling system that supports it. A well designed and properly installed structured cabling network will reduce overall infrastructure costs and ensure that your entire IT network functions optimally.

On the other hand, a poorly implemented structured cabling system can lead to cabling nightmares — such as the ones we’ve shown here — and severely affect the performance of your IT system.

If the examples of poor cabling pictured above didn’t scare you, check out even more structured cabling hell and then vote for your favorite. We’d like to hear from you!