What can your Network Closet tell you about your current IT management provider?

At Standard Computer we believe that a clean, tidy, network closet means that someone with high-attention to detail and professionalism is in charge of your IT department. This level of professionalism will be carried out into software updates, backups, security software and so on. Accordingly, if the closet looks unprofessional then we believe that this signals that all the other work is sloppy as well.

Below you will find a collection of some of our closet cleanups and before you jump in it might be helpful to review the things that we are looking for when we evaluate a network's physical infrastructure.

Employee areas:

  • Faceplates should be labeled and POE if using VoIP phones.
  • No cables should just be coming out of holes cut in the drywall
  • Patch cables should be in the wall, not running down the wall or across the floor. Cinder block walls are no exception.
  • Tape or thumbtacks should never be used to secure cables to the wall.
  • There should be no fuzzy strings at the end of the cable, this is the tension sheathing and without it the cable is held in place only by the data pairs.
  • Snag-resistant cables are preferred, otherwise the network connector ends will have the ‘ears’ broke off and will easily pull out of their jacks.

Server Room:

  • All network equipment should be wall or rack mounted and clearly labeled.
  • Equipment screens and status indication lights are facing out.
  • Proper cable management tools being used properly.
  • Proper grounding, not wire frame shelves, wooden shelves or non-ventilated cabinets.
  • The temperature of the server room should be cool not warm.
  • The network board should be painted - we prefer the "ma bell" colors of black and orange.

Our Recent Network Closet Remodels

Messy Rack Is Messy

--Cisco Gigabit Switch cooling fans sounded like coal mining operations --waterfall of patch cables of varying lengths --Two switches due to lack of scalability --second switch is 100mbps --Cisco 1000mbps switch not rack mounted due to excessive size --Battery backup with multiple surge protectors powering everything from old telephone systems (Turned on, Not in production), Two internet modems (Turned on, Not in production), DVR, Monitor, Old speakers, Alarm system, etc. --Cables ran into room in many locations --old telephone systems turned on utilizing power but not in production --Closet extremely dirty --networking spread across two locations --Current state = VERY difficult to troubleshoot issues. --Server located on floor in second location --UPS next to server on floor --Plethora of +10ft cabling in spaghetti format connecting the small switch to the 3 server NICs, Ubiquiti WAP, Phone, PC, Firewall, & NAS. -- All devices shoved into a dirty corner on the floor along with other objects stored in this room from the office.
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Rack Attack

Shallow closet with full sized 2 post network rack, 95% of rack is empty, closet is crowded and difficult to troubleshoot. Telecom board full of old equipment, Equipment is loose and dangling by cables, Excessive length patch cables obfuscating the view of equipment, critical equipment not labeled.
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Sheetrock Fail

Networking equipment spread out on two walls, server located in different room under a desk. Equipment is screwed into sheetrock and is falling out. Power cords, UPS and surge protector are randomly chained together. The internet firewall has (6) power connections between it and the wall outlet, any of which could fail and produce downtime. Equipment was improperly anchored and was pulling out and falling to the ground.
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The Under-Counter Closet

Network cables ran directly to equipment with no patch panel, cables were missing ends and prone to popping out, equipment ran hot, internet modem was accessible only by entering the crawl space below the office.
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What's Behind That Desk?

Doctor's office held all the network cables, switches and server. The internet and phone system was in a different part of the building. Equipment was all located behind the desk in his office which was loud and caused his furniture to not fit together nicely.
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I.T. Moved from Floor to Wall

Pretty much everything is on the floor with the exception of (2) 24port patch panels, a few switches and a wireless access point. The equipment has to be climbed over to reach anything and there is no room to store anything or work in this closet.
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