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Old 01-28-2019, 06:00 AM   #1
Curious.George
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Default Wiring "High Density" network drops

My office has (way too many!) all my networked devices arranged above and below a series of benches. This has the drops tediously close together (24 in the ~100sq ft of floor space occupied by the workbenches).

To make matters worse, I've secured the cables to the underside of the benches (floor is covered with equipment and power cords) which requires a contortionist to access them (e.g., to add/remove/replace).

Because it's all star topology (Gbe), every drop is essentially "trimmed-to-length" to reflect the actual distance from that device to the switch (big service loops would just increase the clutter under the benches).

So, when I opt to move a piece of kit more than a foot or so, I have to remove that cable and replace it with one that's a foot or so longer/shorter! It takes the better part of a day to make these sorts of adjustments (because everything under the benches has to be moved out of the way to allow me to crawl under and fish the new cable through!)

[I had to add two such cables yesterday to accommodate two more bits of kit -- a day "wasted"! And, I've now run out of ports on the 24p switch!]

Rather than replace the 24p switch with a 48p unit, I think a smarter move may be to replace it with a 16 and two 8's (for 32p). And, then I can spread them out a bit so I don't have a bundle of 24 (or 32) cables coming to ONE location!

The only real downside I can see (other than two more power cords that have to find their way back to the UPS that powers the existing switch; the need for two more "mounting places" for switches; and two more IP addresses) is that I'd potentially be limiting the aggregate network bandwidth (for theoretical full mesh connectivity). I.e., all the devices on ONE switch would have to share a link to the group of devices serviced by the "next" switch, etc.

But, as it's typically just me consuming bandwidth, there, I can probably arrange my needs so that I'm only really hammering away between two nodes at a time (e.g., file/volume transfers).

In that case, if both devices are on the same switch, there's no difference from my current setup. And, if they are on different switches, there will be a slightly longer transit delay (to cross to the "other" switch) but bandwidth should be the same as if on the same switch (cuz no other traffic would be sharing that bridge link).

But I'm wondering if there are other subtle differences that will piss me off when I uncover them (AFTER I will have spent TWO OR THREE days rewiring everything!). The first thing that comes to mind is I'll probably end up with consumer-grade switches (do they make any enterprise kit that is that small -- 8/16p?) and they may be more temperamental (no fans, wall-wart power supplies, etc.)

[(sigh) Oh for the days of 10Base2!]

Anything else?
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Old 02-07-2019, 09:14 PM   #2
Curious.George
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Default Re: Wiring "High Density" network drops

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacBeton View Post
Another retarded sysadmin parody, or just a troll?
From a scan of YOUR posts, it seems "troll" best applies to YOU! (have you actually added any value in any of the posts you've blustered into?)

Quote:
Why do you need to replace the "drops"? Can't you just replace the patch cords?
Perhaps English isn't your native language so I'll try to explain it in more explicit terms...

There are 24 drops over a linear span of about 23 feet. The shortest patch cord is 4 ft and connects the switch to the UPS that powers it LOCATED IMMEDIATELY BELOW IT. I.e., 2.5 feet to get from the 8P8C on the switch to the rear edge of the bench, 6 inches to align, horizontally, with the 8P8C on the UPS, 6 inches to drop down to the level of the UPS's 8P8C below the bench surface (to which the cables are fastened) and 12 inches to traverse the distance from the back of the bench (where the cables are fastened) to the rear of the UPS -- where the 8P8C is located.

A longer cable would result in the need to accommodate a service loop behind the UPS, "somewhere".

Immediately ABOVE the UPS is a SFF machine oriented on its side (so, it's taller than it is wide). A 5 foot cable connects it to the switch because the cable has to rise a foot above the bench (whereas the UPS's cable only had to fall 6 inches below the bench). USING A 4 FT CABLE WOULDN'T REACH. (and we already know -- from the UPS example -- that a LONGER cable would result in a service loop behind the SFF box!)

A full six inches past the SFF box is a small USFF box. Wanna guess how long THAT cable should be?

Immediately below the UPS (actually SUPPORTING it) is a Z800 (full tower orientation). Clearly, the cable to the UPS won't be able to reach down to the 8P8C on the Z800 so it will need a longer cable than that servicing the UPS. And, again, not too long lest I have to accommodate (another!) service loop behind the Z800.

Move 12 inches farther from the switch UPS and there's another UPS -- though mounted on the floor -- to service the pair of Z800's on that side of the room (we haven't made it to the second Z800, yet). So, the patch cord needs to be able to reach down to the floor (for that make/model UPS) as well as 12 inches beyond the Z800.

Note that we're now just 1 foot along that 23 ft journey along the bench. And, we've already encountered 4 drops, each having different length cables. Just 20 more drops to deal with in the next 22 ft of span!

If any of these devices are moved from their current physical locations, chances are their existing cables won't reach. I can leave those cables in the harness of cables affixed to the underside of the bench and ADD yet another (of the proper length). But, then I've got a dangling wire that MIGHT be of some future use -- or, might not!

And, regardless, I still have to snake a new cable through that bundle to address the new location of that piece of kit. So, leaving the old cable in place doesn't "save" any labor.

Keep in mind that each of these "drops" typically services a device that has a power cord, at least one video cable, and likely keyboard/mouse. So, ALL of that wire has to find a place to hide in addition to any "service loops" you introduce (to accommodate moving a piece of kit at some future date).

Quote:
And use wireless for those moving benches.
So, put 24 transceivers in that 100 sq ft area? You do understand Imperial measures, right? 10 sq meters? Let's assume I paint the walls and build a Faraday cage to prevent data leaking out (or in!).

Quote:
1 Gbe cable is enough for at least 10 workstations. Use a smaller switch at the bench side. You don't have to connect each printer or IP phone with a gigabit cat18.
It doesn't matter the type of cable that is used but, rather, that it IS a cable and has a fixed length, chosen at time of installation. Adding switches just shortens the length of the average cable as it need not snake its way through a single bundle of cables back to a single switch! Instead, other switches can be located closer to those "drops" so you don't have to remove a 20 ft cable to replace it with a 21 ft cable!

Ah, but now those switches all need to be powered from that first UPS! So, now we have long power cords that have to be accommodated in lieu of the network cables! Or, we add two more UPSs -- and two more drops to connect those UPSs to the network fabric!

It would help if you actually THOUGHT about a problem before offering useless commentary.
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Old 02-14-2019, 11:44 PM   #3
MJ-meo-dmt
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Default Re: Wiring "High Density" network drops

Madness! Michael Scott No Nooooo

Are you setting this up or are you fixing someone else's setup? (It sounds like you are fixing someone else's setup...)

Honestly it seems like some posts are either missing or something is not right here... I'm interested to help...

Best of luck!

************************************************** ****************************************
From the above info's:
Quote:
And, I've now run out of ports on the 24p switch!]
Rather than replace the 24p switch with a 48p unit, I think a smarter move may be to replace it with a 16 and two 8's (for 32p). And, then I can spread them out a bit so I don't have a bundle of 24 (or 32) cables coming to ONE location!
Agree. But instead of replacing your 24Port that you already have convert and set it up as your "Distribution Switch" and then get some 8's or 16's and set them up for "Access Switches". Should lessen the amount of cables you take through to your "Core" and it would give you more options inside the Node's physical zone/area. Is this 24 port a layer 3 switch?

Would it be possible to have a PoE system setup instead of running power cords everywhere? To power these supposed "Access Switches". What kind of equipment do you have? Mind listing them? Also your possible Budget or things you would be able to get... To get an idea of what options you have?

Photos would be nice to aid in visual thought... But don't expose or create any security concerns...

Thanks
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Last edited by MJ-meo-dmt; 02-15-2019 at 12:05 AM..
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Old 02-15-2019, 01:41 AM   #4
Curious.George
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Default Re: Wiring "High Density" network drops

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ-meo-dmt View Post
Are you setting this up or are you fixing someone else's setup? (It sounds like you are fixing someone else's setup...)
No, mine. I have limited space to cram lots of different kit.

Attached drawing illustrates placement of (only!) the networked devices. A few are missing (a UPS under the switch but atop the workstation, there; NASs, etc.) just because the drawing was already too crowded to cram in others.

(Black) Numbers on periphery are dimensions (inches).

Quote:
But instead of replacing your 24Port that you already have convert and set it up as your "Distribution Switch" and then get some 8's or 16's and set them up for "Access Switches". Should lessen the amount of cables you take through to your "Core" and it would give you more options inside the Node's physical zone/area. Is this 24 port a layer 3 switch?
L2 managed switch.

Quote:
Would it be possible to have a PoE system setup instead of running power cords everywhere? To power these supposed "Access Switches". What kind of equipment do you have? Mind listing them?
My biggest problem is space -- there really are only two places where a switch can reside (and be accessible as well as "mountable"): the first being where it currently resides while the second would be the corresponding location on the other "side" of the "U". The "empty" spaces in the illustration are not actually empty -- they contain bits of kit that don't have network connections and, thus, would only clutter the drawing.

[For example, my seat -- in the center -- can face to either side or straight up -- with keyboard drawers mounted to the underside of the benches in each of those three locations]

There are legs holding up the benches which limits the "depth" (front to back) of anything mounted on these "U ends". E.g., I have a couple of 2960's but they are twice the "depth" of the current switch.

I considered PoE powered switches but they're harder to come by and I'm not sure what choices I'd have at the small end (few ports) of the spectrum.

Quote:
Also your possible Budget or things you would be able to get... To get an idea of what options you have?
I can usually find whatever I need -- given time. My current plan is to replace the 24 port switch with a 16 and add a second on the opposite "end" of the "U". At 32 ports, I'd be hard pressed to exceed that capacity (OTOH, I originally thought 16 would be enough! )

Quote:
Photos would be nice to aid in visual thought...
Note the location of the "cable harness" affixed to the underside of the benches and running along the back edge of each. As the backs of the benches are against walls, the only access to the cables is from the "front". But, as the benches are ~3' deep, the cables can't be reached without climbing UNDER the benches. But, there's a load of kit under the benches that you either have to hover above (for the shorter items) or remove so you can crawl underneath -- this is not something that old bodies enjoy doing!
Attached Images
File Type: bmp Layout.bmp (440.3 KB, 3 views)
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Old 02-15-2019, 02:50 AM   #5
MJ-meo-dmt
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Default Re: Wiring "High Density" network drops

Hey Curious.George. Thanks for the diagram and extra bits of info.

Okay so to get my head around this setup... Because I'm not fully aware of what you are aiming to achieve so please bare with me... Is it just this one room that you need to setup/redo. OR are there other variables?

So this is the main room. aka your "core" I take it... And you are obviously limited to space... are all the drops in this one room or are they outer points (outside "core").
And you want to redo the cables for this room and want to figure out the best place to position it without having to modify/replace cables?

Quote:
L2 managed switch.
Ah okay...

Could trunking be a option? thinking about using the "upper" region of the room... aka the Walls and UP. Think a cabinet

BUT not having the full view/idea of what you are up to uhm yeah?

Love your diagram btw * -- this is not something that old bodies enjoy doing! * hahaha yeah agreed!
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Old 02-15-2019, 04:08 PM   #6
Curious.George
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Default Re: Wiring "High Density" network drops

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ-meo-dmt View Post
Is it just this one room that you need to setup/redo. OR are there other variables?
This is the room that has the highest "drop density". But, there are other bits of kit, elsewhere (e.g., my name server is in another room).

Quote:
So this is the main room. aka your "core" I take it... And you are obviously limited to space... are all the drops in this one room or are they outer points (outside "core").
This is the area that has the most concentrated arrangement of equipment. There's a 96 port switch elsewhere that addresses the rest of the house but those drops are spread out over a considerably larger area! (and, don't need to "move" as they are affixed to specific places; OTOH, if I move a piece of kit in the office area, then a wire needs to grow or shrink, accordingly)

As I spend much of my day/week in there, I've tried to arrange things for MY convenience. For example, the workstations at the "top" are used for EDA and CAD. I can be working on a schematic and PCB layout, there, and swivel my chair to work on the software that will eventually be running on that design. Or, swivel the other way to update the documentation for the design (user manual, service manual, etc.) Trying to do all of these things on one machine is problematic; it's just too much software to keep "playing nice with others". Plus, they all require different types of I/O devices (e.g., the CAD station uses a Space Pilot motion controller while the EDA station can benefit more from a digitizing tablet; the Document Preparation workstation wants access to different scanners while the Software Development workstation needs to talk to my target hardware).

The network lets me freely move items between the workstations as well as interact with them remotely (e.g., VNC, RDP, X, etc.) in those cases where I might want to cut-and-paste between different applications running on different hosts.

Quote:
And you want to redo the cables for this room and want to figure out the best place to position it without having to modify/replace cables?
I would like to be able to "adjust" cable lengths without having to undertake the gymnastic effort to squirm around under the benches. Note that there are lots of OTHER cables that aren't related to the network: power cords, keyboard cables, mice cables, video cables, cables for "other" peripherals, speaker wiring, etc. So, keeping everything "cut to length" has great value in reducing the tangle of wires above and below the benches!

Quote:
Could trunking be a option? thinking about using the "upper" region of the room... aka the Walls and UP. Think a cabinet
That would offend my other half's "sensibilities". It's a house, after all, not a "lab" (if we had a basement, things would be a lot easier -- but, no/few basements in this part of the country).

And, if we had a basement, I'd probably be in a constant state of disarray (as there'd be no pressure to clean things up! )
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Old 02-19-2019, 05:07 AM   #7
MJ-meo-dmt
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Default Re: Wiring "High Density" network drops

Hi Curious.George

Thanks for taking the time to explain. Also sorry for the delay, been so busy... Planing to write my CCNA exam in mid March.

Well it seems there aren't much you could do, without having to redo(replace) cables and having to go into some kinda "crawling squirm mode" :P

Having all the cables to the exact length is bad but also neat. You could really only re-position those cables or just re-position end hosts/stations... Using the same cables... But either way kinda sounds like you will end up having to go and crawl around. Sounds like a Saturday to me.

Uhmm I don't know. If it were me Id probably just re-do the cables and have some smaller switches for each bench. In the diagram you had 3 major benches, that U(upside-down) shape. I would then have a main switch for the room.

So, assuming the hosts are on top of the benches... Id pull out all the cables having only 3 or depending on bandwidth 6 cables running to the switches 2/2/2. Id have the switches accessible at the benches so that I could insert and remove cables as needed rather than having 24 cables(or whatever you have now) running all the way everywhere.

But that gives us another issue. loose cables from hosts to bench switch... For this I would do something like those re-bendable clamp things... I have seen them in cars clamping the electrical wires, esp in the engine bay. Its like a V and you put the cables inside the V and then fold over the two ends. Its like wire(inside the V) with protective plastic not to damage the cables... (I'll try and find a photo)

Here is something similar:
Another: http://www.novoflex.in/AdhesiveBackedClamps&Clips.html

Anyways this would be on the bench near the back edge, so you have a place to temporary store cables. Thing though with this is it has to be done right from the start otherwise it would end up looking shit.

But yeah thinking about it you will have to attack those cables running everywhere either way or you will have to stick with what you have...

Quote:
That would offend my other half's "sensibilities".
Haha, right I know *same boat*

What ideas did you have so far? Apart from the switch ideas you posted earlier.

Last edited by MJ-meo-dmt; 02-19-2019 at 05:15 AM..
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Old 02-19-2019, 07:38 AM   #8
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Default Re: Wiring "High Density" network drops

To add to the above about the switches somehow I assumed using the good stuff.... But they will probably be consumer grade stuff (basic). In that case the bandwidth stuff doesn't matter obviously...
Having been busy studying has flooded my mind with Cisco's good stuff.(In means the expensive hardware) Anyways
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Old 02-19-2019, 02:40 PM   #9
Curious.George
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Default Re: Wiring "High Density" network drops

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ-meo-dmt View Post
Well it seems there aren't much you could do, without having to redo(replace) cables and having to go into some kinda "crawling squirm mode" :P
My thinking is that if I can "split" the number of hosts served by each (of multiple) switch, then:
  • the average cable gets shorter
  • the "bundle" to each switch gets smaller
So, if I need to replace a 20 ft run with a 21 ft, I don't have to "unthread" 20 feet of cable (from the cable supports) and REthread 21 ft in its place (all while crouching under the benches)

And, if there are fewer cables in each "bundle", I can deliberately LEAVE cables in the bundle(s) -- even if they are no longer being used! So, no need to "unthread" an unused cable (and, perhaps I can REUSE that cable at a later date!)

Quote:
Having all the cables to the exact length is bad but also neat. You could really only re-position those cables or just re-position end hosts/stations... Using the same cables... But either way kinda sounds like you will end up having to go and crawl around. Sounds like a Saturday to me.
Crawling around is hard on my back as it's really a PITA to remove the equipment that's under the benches to make room for easier access. And, you're working "upside down" -- the cables are ABOVE you which means you really want to be on your back looking up (instead of crawling on hands and knees and trying to twist your head around to see what's "behind" you).

Note that in the 10Base2 days, all I had to do was reach the back of <whichever> machine to disconnect the "T" and replace one or both of the upstream/downstream cables to adjacent "net neighbors". It didn't matter where the (nonexistent) "switch" was located as everything was "relative".

Quote:
Uhmm I don't know. If it were me Id probably just re-do the cables and have some smaller switches for each bench. In the diagram you had 3 major benches, that U(upside-down) shape. I would then have a main switch for the room.
Only the two "sides" of the U have places where switches could be accessible (mounted to the undersides of the benches). I.e., where the existing switch is located and the same place on the opposite "leg" of the U. Note positions of keyboard drawers...

Quote:
So, assuming the hosts are on top of the benches... Id pull out all the cables having only 3 or depending on bandwidth 6 cables running to the switches 2/2/2. Id have the switches accessible at the benches so that I could insert and remove cables as needed rather than having 24 cables(or whatever you have now) running all the way everywhere.
Hosts are above benchtops as well as below (on the floor). The location of the existing switch is very convenient as I can access it by standing just "south" of it in the illustration. So, I can easily monitor the blinkenlights to see if I have fabric problems. Putting a second switch on the other "leg" is slightly less convenient because of the presence of the server and printer just south of that "end" -- but, doable.

[Note the UPS located just below the switch -- hard to see black on black -- and the Z800 just below that! Switch needs to be cleaned up as I was measuring cable lengths last night (LAN tester) so had to plug/unplug each]

Quote:
But that gives us another issue. loose cables from hosts to bench switch... For this I would do something like those re-bendable clamp things... I have seen them in cars clamping the electrical wires, esp in the engine bay. Its like a V and you put the cables inside the V and then fold over the two ends. Its like wire(inside the V) with protective plastic not to damage the cables... (I'll try and find a photo)
I originally used these "resealable" clamps. But, they have a limit of about 3/4" on the diameter of the cable bundle (as you can see, 24 cables is considerably thicker!). I replaced them with "loops" and will soon be replacing those with D hooks.

Quote:
Anyways this would be on the bench near the back edge, so you have a place to temporary store cables. Thing though with this is it has to be done right from the start otherwise it would end up looking shit.
I've resigned myself that it will "look like sh*t", regardless. Just too many damn cables/cords to ever have any hope of dressing them cleanly!

Quote:
What ideas did you have so far? Apart from the switch ideas you posted earlier.
That's the only practical solution (its not worth designing a "loop" adapter to move back to a "neighbor-to-neighbor"/bus wiring scheme... not for just a dozen nodes!

I'm just leary that I may have ignored some "downside" that bites me AFTER I have made the changes. But, as I said previously, traffic between hosts that share one of the "new" switches will be the same. And, even traffic between hosts on DIFFERENT switches should suffer little more than a transit delay (from switch to switch) but no impact on overall throughput.

I think if I had a more "meshed" traffic pattern there could be some downside (as each switch would then impose limits on ALL the hosts that it services). But, as that's not my typical case, it doesn't seem worth fretting over.

I'll have to look for other switches to see what I can squeeze in...

[Good luck on your exam/certification!]
Attached Images
File Type: bmp Layout.bmp (440.3 KB, 1 views)
File Type: jpg Clamp.jpg (214.7 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg Switch.jpg (304.6 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg Bundle.jpg (203.1 KB, 7 views)
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