Really, really need to improve cable management in my home office with way too many cables

philb2

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
May 26, 2021
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I need advice here from the gurus and IT professionals get everything off the floor except for a UPS. Sorry for the long explanations, but I’m hoping to provide enough information to forum members who would be able to provide good feedback. In advance thanks for reading through this post.

This issue happened because of a complete network fubar, (https://www.techtarget.com/whatis/definition/FUBAR ). I was responsible for this compete snafu, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SNAFU ), but the details aren’t important. It took me most of two days to tear everything down, label all the cables, and then slowly rebuild this network, so I don’t want to repeat the experience. Coincidence or not, my HP 401dn laser printer no longer works on Ethernet or USB.

Right now, my cables include 6 Ethernet cables going into a Netgear switch, 12 power cords and AC power supplies (including 3 just for different external HDDs), 9 USB cables and 1 video cable, for 28 total cables. All power cables are connected to a UPS or a power strip connected into the UPS.

The desk itself is 72 inches wide. My desktop tower sits just to the right of the desk. One laptop is also used from time to time on this desk. The other upstairs laptop is about 3 feet to the left of the desk, with a HyperPower GN30B switch for USB and Ethernet. There are printers located about 1 foot away from both left and right edges of the desk. Up to now I have been using Velcro tie wraps and some toilet paper cores to try to tidy up this mess. ALL of these cables were laid along the floor behind my desk, which is right next to a wall. But because of the design of the desk, there is only 1 foot of vertical clearance for me to access any of these cables. In practice, it’s damn near impossible to do any cabling rework.

So I’m wanting to attach these items under the desk:
  • Some kind of “wire baskets,” probably two in parallel along the length of the desk so I can separate out power cables from Ethernet and USB.
  • Possibly one basket each on the left and right edges of the desk so wires don’t hang down.
  • 2 power strips
  • The network switch.
  • Aside from the AC power input from an outlet (or mains) for the UPS, all cables should remain in the wire baskets except for the power strips cables plugged into the UPS on the floor.
Here are some sample designs, but these are just starting points. I’m totally OK with drilling holes for wood screws to anchor shelves, etc. Color does not matter:

https://www.wayfair.com/boards-tech...-management-rack-insideblack2pc-dlea1182.html

https://www.newegg.com/p/38Y-00V6-00003

https://www.autonomous.ai/ourblog/6-best-under-desk-cable-management (just the under desk cable baskets.)

https://www.walmart.com/c/kp/desk-cable-management (which ones?)

https://www.windowscentral.com/best-under-wire-desk-trays-your-home-office (which ones?)

https://www.cableorganizer.com/categories/desk-organizers/desk-cable-organizers/ (which ones?)

https://nymag.com/strategist/article/best-cable-organizers.html (just the picture at the top center of the article)

https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/signum-cable-management-horizontal-silver-color-30200253/
 

SamirD

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Mar 22, 2015
Messages
5,998
I don't know your particular situation, but I literally had to the same thing except nothing on the floor and nothing even on the walls! Our puppy was chewing everything up!

I don't know how much of this will help for your situation, but I will explain what I did and maybe that will help somewhat.

The equipment list is huge--3 desks including one that is a standing/sitting one, 1 thin client, 2x laptops, 1x docking station, 2x external screens, network scanner, network multifunction machine, desktop scanner, nas, external drive, 3x ups units, 3 access points, 1 router, 1 cable modem, and all the various misc stuff my wife has connected to usb.

I started with my wife's desk since it already has some cable management built-in. The first thing I did was literally just move everything off the ground and see how much space there was on the desk for the UPS units as well as any cables. My wife's uplift desk does have a nice built in cable channel, but now I had to make sure absolutely nothing was sticking out of it in any way. There was enough room without interfering with her workflow.

For my own setup, it required getting an ikea 63" desktop and 4x legs to make an 'L' where the printer and network scanner could sit as well as pretty much everything else except 1 ups and the desktop scanner and my screen.

The first place I started were the wall outlets. There's only 2x in the room that we can use. A third is a switched plug for a lamp that also had to get off the ground. It sits on the ikea desk on my side of the room. Some outdoor rated outlet covers that would allow something to be plugged in and then just the wire comes out solved the first power problem. I would plug in the ups units into these.

The next challenge was to protect this cable back to the UPS that's on a desk. That's where Legrand's cable raceways from Home Depot came to the rescue. Their 'cordmate II' series was just thick enough for the UPS cords. I got the starter pack with some elbows and stuff, but had to get some more elbow and picked up some 5' channels for the next part of the job.

The difficult part in our setup was the wires that needed to go between our two desks since we're both wired and I have the router and she has the cable modem (there wasn't enough cable to move the modem to my desk). So there are 2x 50' ethernet cables that would route on the wall. And while these cable raceways are adhesive backed, I read the reviews how the adhesive sucked so I just got some small nails and nailed them up instead. Cutting them to size was easy with a pair of bolt cutter type shears, and if you have a jigsaw or hacksaw that would work as well.

The finished result is that all the cables are now resting on top of the desk neatly behind things and plugged into the UPS units sitting on the deskop (which has been handy since they have usb charging ports on them and the displays are now easy to see when the voltage fluctuates). I ran the cable raceways straight up from the desk and then over and around the wall over the window and those look pretty great too, like a professional office would have.

So putting the cables on top of the desk is one place to start. Also, for the laser printer, I would try fresh cables since while a one a million chance, both the usb and network cables could have been damaged in the reshuffle.

Hope this helps!
 

philb2

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
May 26, 2021
Messages
1,028
I don't know your particular situation, but I literally had to the same thing except nothing on the floor and nothing even on the walls! Our puppy was chewing everything up!

I don't know how much of this will help for your situation, but I will explain what I did and maybe that will help somewhat.

The equipment list is huge--3 desks including one that is a standing/sitting one, 1 thin client, 2x laptops, 1x docking station, 2x external screens, network scanner, network multifunction machine, desktop scanner, nas, external drive, 3x ups units, 3 access points, 1 router, 1 cable modem, and all the various misc stuff my wife has connected to usb.

I started with my wife's desk since it already has some cable management built-in. The first thing I did was literally just move everything off the ground and see how much space there was on the desk for the UPS units as well as any cables. My wife's uplift desk does have a nice built in cable channel, but now I had to make sure absolutely nothing was sticking out of it in any way. There was enough room without interfering with her workflow.

For my own setup, it required getting an ikea 63" desktop and 4x legs to make an 'L' where the printer and network scanner could sit as well as pretty much everything else except 1 ups and the desktop scanner and my screen.

The first place I started were the wall outlets. There's only 2x in the room that we can use. A third is a switched plug for a lamp that also had to get off the ground. It sits on the ikea desk on my side of the room. Some outdoor rated outlet covers that would allow something to be plugged in and then just the wire comes out solved the first power problem. I would plug in the ups units into these.

The next challenge was to protect this cable back to the UPS that's on a desk. That's where Legrand's cable raceways from Home Depot came to the rescue. Their 'cordmate II' series was just thick enough for the UPS cords. I got the starter pack with some elbows and stuff, but had to get some more elbow and picked up some 5' channels for the next part of the job.

The difficult part in our setup was the wires that needed to go between our two desks since we're both wired and I have the router and she has the cable modem (there wasn't enough cable to move the modem to my desk). So there are 2x 50' ethernet cables that would route on the wall. And while these cable raceways are adhesive backed, I read the reviews how the adhesive sucked so I just got some small nails and nailed them up instead. Cutting them to size was easy with a pair of bolt cutter type shears, and if you have a jigsaw or hacksaw that would work as well.

The finished result is that all the cables are now resting on top of the desk neatly behind things and plugged into the UPS units sitting on the deskop (which has been handy since they have usb charging ports on them and the displays are now easy to see when the voltage fluctuates). I ran the cable raceways straight up from the desk and then over and around the wall over the window and those look pretty great too, like a professional office would have.

So putting the cables on top of the desk is one place to start. Also, for the laser printer, I would try fresh cables since while a one a million chance, both the usb and network cables could have been damaged in the reshuffle.

Hope this helps!
SamirD

Thanks for this detailed reply. IF my situation were different I might adopt your approach. However ......
  1. She Who Must Be Obeyed does not want anything on the walls of the room. I asked.
  2. We are planning to move in the next 12-18 months. I need a solution that can be moved to our new house, meaning something under the bottom of the desk top.
I hope some other forum members can benefit from your explanations.
 

SamirD

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Mar 22, 2015
Messages
5,998
SamirD

Thanks for this detailed reply. IF my situation were different I might adopt your approach. However ......
  1. She Who Must Be Obeyed does not want anything on the walls of the room. I asked.
  2. We are planning to move in the next 12-18 months. I need a solution that can be moved to our new house, meaning something under the bottom of the desk top.
I hope some other forum members can benefit from your explanations.
Yep, I know how SWMBO requirements go as well. :D

I re-read your original post and it got me thinking--why not add some real under desk wire drawers like these:
https://www.build.com/product/summa...V0BGtBh2hYQw0EAQYAiABEgJOvfD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds
 

philb2

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
May 26, 2021
Messages
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SamirD

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
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Messages
5,998
SamirD

I like these designs, but they all seem designed to mount in a standard drawer space, because they have slide out railings. I need to top mount my hanging baskets.
Hmmm...I can't visualize the top mount--you mean attaching them from the top somehow?
 

philb2

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
May 26, 2021
Messages
1,028
These look nice in theory, but I can't see that small ledge holding any substantial weight as there's a lot of leverage created by the stuff in the 'basket' portion for that little ledge to hold on.
Agree. Only cables will go in the "baskets." That is why I'm not planning to put in a power strip, which I will velcro to the bottom of the desk. Same for my network switch.
 
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