Feb 26

How to always have the right length cross over cable on hand!!

While working for a client a while ago, I would have to drive to many locations through out the state to turn up networks or to resolve issues. During an outage I would have to drive up to three hours before arriving to the location with the failure. I used to stock pile pre-made CAT5 cables and fiber jumpers of multiple lengths along with power supplies, SFP’s, SFP+, XFP’s and many spare line cards.


Due to past failures of poorly made CAT5 jumpers, I was not allowed to make my own cables. Due to this, I stock piled as many cables as I could. Unfortunately, I was only allowed to be issues a set amount. Every once and a while I would need a crossover cable. Most of the time, I didn’t have a cross over cable long enough to reach.

My solution to this was a RJ-45 Straight through Barrel. If I needed a 45ft crossover cable, I would use a 45ft straight cable, place the barrel on it, then attach a 6ft crossover cable to the other side of the barrel and now I had a 51ft crossover cable. Then of course I would have to schedule a maintenance window to get the correct cable installed, but my outage was fixed in a timely manor.

Now, I always have a 6 inch crossover cable and a barrel in my bag. I never know when I’m going to need it and it has gotten me out of a bind many times.

What cabling tricks do you use? Let me know!!!


Feb 19

Cable management when you replace a switch or a line card.

How many times have you had a switch fail and found out that none of the cables were labeled? How do you make sure the cables get placed back into the correct port? You could take the time to label all of them, I have done that.


A simple solution to this mess is a 48 port patch panel. This works great for replacing a fixed unit switch or a single line card in a chassis. Before removing the switch or line card, move all of the cables to the patch panel in the same port number as they were in on the switch or line card. Port 1 on the switch to port 1 on the patch panel. Port 2 on the switch to port 2 on the patch panel and so on until all of the cables are off of the switch and onto the patch panel.

After replacing the failed unit, simply move the cables off of the patch panel onto the new switch in the corresponding ports.

What other tricks do you have when replacing failed equipment? Let me know, I would like to get your feedback!