How do you label your cable?

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Oct 28, 2004
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So as networks expand, you get more and more of those pesky cat5e/cat6/serial/etc cables. Keeping track of which port on what goes to what is helpful, but when you need to do work it is very, very nice to know which cable is what on the switch/patch panel. So far it seems like there are three (two good) options at attaching labels to the ends of a cable:

1) No label at all. Just have cabling matrices that deal with this and pray you never need to do something on the spot.
2) Tape/attach a piece of paper that is tangential to the cable, seems like this is the easiest but it seems like it could get pretty messy with a lot of cables bundled together.
3) Get a label that wraps around the cable so it looks like it is printed directly on it.

I'm more keen on #3 - but googling around it seems like the base investment is over $150 - and you get thousands of labels. I probably need 500-1000 at most, and so not being able to break it down to a cheaper cost kind of sucks. Plus I'd have to make sure to get a program/template to properly align/size as I print them out en masse.

Does anyone have suggestions on how to handle dealing with dozens/hundreds of cables?
 

imzjustplayin

[H]ard|Gawd
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I don't understand, do you want to label the cables running from the switch to the patch panel or what? You shouldn't have to label the cables running from the patch panel to the switch. The patch panel should theoretically make things much simplier to deal with.

http://content.techrepublic.com.com/2346-1035_11-165031-1.html

This should give you some ideas of what to do. However my problem with the way they did things was that they used zip ties to tie together the wiring which makes accessing them difficult in the event of having to replace or add wire. You can either follow exactly what they did and use velcro straps instead or go by my idea which is to group the wires that go to specific machines (ignoring their type) and bind them with velcro straps.
 

Grentz

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I dont label cables...I label the ports the cables plug into :p

You should not need to label any cable, you label the ports themselves and then know where they go.

Most of the time it really just matters to label the ports that are going through the walls (on each end) the cables coming from the ports either just go to workstations or go into a switch that does not matter where they are plugged in.
 

MrGuvernment

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^^ as said, easier to label the ports.

guess the problem comes when laying all the wire, making sure they go from the right port to port.
 
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I want to label in multiple situations, including:
server <--> switch
switch <---> switch
switch <---> patch panel
console port / serial <---> console server

If I run a cable from the patch panel to the switch - the patch panel may have a label for that port, but what about on the switch? I'm not keen on writing on the switch, and labels in the switch config should be correct but you never really know (which is why I like labels). Plus, not everything is necessarily a network cable. I've been dealing a fair bit with serial cables and would like to tidy those up too.
 

imzjustplayin

[H]ard|Gawd
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I want to label in multiple situations, including:
server <--> switch
switch <---> switch
switch <---> patch panel
console port / serial <---> console server

If I run a cable from the patch panel to the switch - the patch panel may have a label for that port, but what about on the switch? I'm not keen on writing on the switch, and labels in the switch config should be correct but you never really know (which is why I like labels). Plus, not everything is necessarily a network cable. I've been dealing a fair bit with serial cables and would like to tidy those up too.

You can either follow exactly what they did and use velcro straps instead or go by my idea which is to group the wires that go to specific machines (ignoring their type) and bind them with velcro straps.

Why do you need to label the wires running from the switch to the patch panel? Does the switch have something port specific? If you plug in a server into the switch, if you use port 23 instead of port 24 (on a 40port switch) will it not work or something? Are you using zoning on your switch or something?
 

k1pp3r

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Jun 16, 2004
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8,209
Yeah, honestly, the only reason i would label the actual cable is:

1) I just had that much spare time, which i don't (don't know any admins that do)

and

2) My boss is holding a gun to my head telling me to label the wires (in which case cables would be labeled 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 . . . . . lol)
 
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Does the switch have something port specific? If you plug in a server into the switch, if you use port 23 instead of port 24 (on a 40port switch) will it not work or something? Are you using zoning on your switch or something?

That is correct. I can't plug something into just anything and expect it to work.
 

Grentz

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That is correct. I can't plug something into just anything and expect it to work.

We are more curious why not though? are you using vlans or something?


Switches are kinda made to work that way (plug in from the patch panel to any switch port) unless you are running vlans or something.
 

jeffmoss26

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When I do a cabling job, I start by marking the blueprints. That number is used on both ends of the cable, on the jack, and on the patch panel. I then make a spreadsheet for the customer to keep which says what each jack number is.
Now as far as actually labeling patch cords, there are several labelmakers that will do wrap-around labels. I like the Rhino PRO series.
Jeff
 
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Oct 28, 2004
Messages
722
We are more curious why not though? are you using vlans or something?

Yes.

jeffmoss26 said:
When I do a cabling job, I start by marking the blueprints. That number is used on both ends of the cable, on the jack, and on the patch panel. I then make a spreadsheet for the customer to keep which says what each jack number is.
Now as far as actually labeling patch cords, there are several labelmakers that will do wrap-around labels. I like the Rhino PRO series.
Jeff

Very, very cool and just what I was looking for! The Rhino PRO appears to be pretty affordable to compared to what I was looking at.
 

moetop

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This discussion is pretty interesting. We label all cables in the server room, and for interconnects. We do not label end user connections (like everyone else says the patch panels are), but do buy numbered cables for the client connections for ease of tracing. I suspect it depends on the number of cables you are managing. We tend to have a lot of optical and copper patches from location to location and multiple configurations per port on a single chassis, so it makes sense in our situation.

The only thing I would say is if you ever have a large chassis go down it sure makes it quicker to have the cables labeled. Imagine unplugging 200+ cables and trying to remember where they go. It simply does not work.

In an environment where you have multiple port configurations I would say it's a requirement. (i.e. different Vlans, speed, duplex settings on one chassis.) Even if it is a flat configuration it's still nice to know what plugs into what port. In a catastrophic failure putting stuff back where it came from so you don’t need to change the configuration information (port names on the switch configuration) and or any monitoring software, is worth the time
 
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