Is this a familiar situation with the data cabling in your offices? Is there just one of these or are there multiple situations throughout the building, hiding under desks, in cupboards and above ceilings?
The reason for the appearances of these “Mini Switches” is usually that as a company grows or invests in new equipment they find they don’t have enough IT cabling outlets to support what they need.
Additional staff will require extra data cabling outlets for PC’s and phones and as new equipment such a telephone systems are installed, new dedicated IT cabling outlets are required but not always available.
The quick fix approach shown in the photographs is to find 1 spare data cabling outlet and add on 5/8/16 way mini switches and plug all the new requirements into that. These can number 1 per room if the equipment installed needs a lot of new IT cabling outlets.
However, the more of these mini switches are installed, the greater the bottlenecks down the IT system. In a lot of cases these mini switches will then link from one to another. In some businesses we’ve seen (for example) a main switch linking to a floor serving switch to 4 mini switches in a row in each office. Several of them also had 2 connections between switches creating a loop on the network almost shutting it down completely.
The end results are:
- A much slower network
- Increasingly poor quality on IP phone systems and increased drop outs
- Several points of failure
- Trip hazards and fire risks
Steps to an overall solution:
To minimise the effect of these mini switches on your computer cabling network, the aim should be to always run the data cabling back to the central core cabinet in that office, floor, building.
The data cabling should go back to the main switch in this cabinet for the most effective speeds and quality of service.
- Locate and highlight all the mini switches within the building
- Determine how many data wiring outlets these mini switches serve as this will be the additional number of cat5e cabling or cat6 cabling outlets you will require
- Install new cat5e or cat6 cabling as required
- Re-label, re-patch and swap over network to a single central point.
Look for a data cabling company who offer a free site survey to locate your mini switches, determine the potential bottlenecks and issues, and who will propose a solution to removing these. Check that they offer a same rate installation on weekends so that your network will not be down during your working day.
Guest post by Garry Crilley of NM Cabling – Complete Voice & Data Cabling solutions