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The Basics of Premise Network Cable Management

July 16, 2015

Cable Management Illustration

The basic cable management solution features a two-post rack with cabling sections along both sides of the rack to provide a vertical pathway for premise cable and patch cords. Cabling sections in-between adjacent racks in a multiple rack bay must be larger (wider and/or deeper) to support cable from both racks.

Open two-post racks provide the most cost-effective and efficient use of floor space, but four-post racks are superior when supporting larger equipment, like modular network switches. Chatsworth Products (CPI) offers three styles of two-post racks, six styles of four-post racks and five styles of vertical cabling section in various sizes.

Vertical Cabling Section

CPI offers five styles of cabling section (vertical managers) to complement the two-post and four-post open rack systems. Cabling sections attach to the sides of the racks to provide a cable management space along the side of rack-mount equipment.

Cabling sections can be single or double-sided. Double-sided cabling sections are used alongside racks that support patch panels, fiber enclosures or a mix of active equipment and cable termination hardware to provide separate front and rear pathways for patch cords and premise cables.

Cable Runway

Use cable runway or cable tray to create a pathway for premise cables through the room. Premise cables typically enter the cabling sections from overhead cable runway (ladder rack) or cable tray. Be sure to provide radius drops where cable enters or exits the overhead pathway. Also, elevate cable runway 3" to 6" (80 mm to 150 mm) above racks to get the full benefit of the radius drop.

Cable runway or cable tray can be supported from the tops of racks with elevation kits or from the ceiling with threaded rods. Cable runway or cable tray can also be divided to allow cable segregation by media or use/application and tiered to increase capacity.

When selecting a rack solution, it is important to pick a height that provides enough overhead space for cable runway or cable trays. Always leave 3” to 6” (80 mm to 150 mm) of space between the top of racks and cable runway. Leave 12” (300 mm) between each tier of cable runway and 18” (460 mm) between the ceiling and the top tier of cable runway.

Horizontal Cable Management

Use jumper trays and  horizontal managers on the racks in between patch panels and network switches (as shown below) to guide patch cords between connections. Use cable spools inside the cabling sections to control patch cord slack. Loosely bundle cables with CPI’s Saf-T-Grip® Cable Management Straps.

Cable Fill Capacity

Cabling section width and the corresponding cable fill capacity must be carefully considered, especially when a cabling section is shared in-between adjacent racks. CPI recommends using a 50 percent cable fill when selecting vertical and horizontal cable management. This allows sufficient space for maintaining cable bend radius for patch cords. CPI’s Extended Fingers (- EFX) versions are recommended whenever angled-face patch panels are used. Use CPI’s Cable Fill Tool to compare cable fill values and select the correct size cabling section.

For an informative overview of CPI Cable Management, download this brochure.

Kim Ream, Marketing Project Manager

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