When you experience an error or a performance issue with your company's computer system, you will troubleshoot the problem in hopes of resolving it quickly. Before you open the case of your hardware and start messing with components, check your cables. Even a small cabling issue can cause big problems with your entire network.
Setting up your network and installing cables properly is a surprisingly-delicate procedure that requires a plan called "cable mapping." It's vital that your cables are properly handled. If a cable is defective due to a lack of planning, then it can hinder productivity and even cause downtime. The next time you encounter a networking issue, try out these three cabling tips.
Clean Your Connectors
Remember the old video game cartridges from Nintendo? If you inserted it into the game console and it didn't work, what did you do? You would remove it and blow on it like it was some kind of ocarina (of time). Why did you do this? Gamers implemented this best practice because they thought blowing on the game would remove the dust from the cartridge's connectors and provide a working signal. Often times, this troubleshooting practice would work like a charm and you'd be saving the Mushroom Kingdom again in no time!
In the same way, a dirty cable connector end face can be the cause of performance issues across your system. In fact, this is the surprising top cause of network issues. Resolving an issue can be as easy as blowing on your cable ends. However, for maximum cable cleaning, Processor magazine recommends digging deeper:
Use a simple handheld microscope to inspect the end face. If you detect contamination, there are several good fiber optic cleaning products that can quickly remove the contamination and return the connector to a clean/usable state.
Check for Microbends
When cables are improperly handled and installed, they bunch up, become twisted, and get pinched. You may be thinking, "No big deal," but the reality of cable management is that even a small bend, what's known as a cable microbend, can disrupt the flow of data and cause performance issues. The best way to avoid such twists and bends is to plan out your network's cable layout so that all of your wires are as straight as possible.
Measure the Power Levels
Your networking cables are able to move data with the assistance of electricity. If the power levels are abnormal, then the flow of data will be hindered. Therefore, being aware of your cable's power levels will be of great assistance in helping you identify which cables are underperforming and should be replaced. To check the power levels of your cables, you will need a simple power meter. Use the meter to measure the power levels at your different connection points, and make a note of the weaker connections. Try replacing the weaker cables with new ones and see if there's a performance boost.
A good IT technician, such as those here at NetWorthy Systems, are familiar with other tools that can judge the quality of your Cat5 cables. Your traditional cables contain multiple wires, and if just one is broken, the cable would need to be replaced.
If these simple cable troubleshooting tips don't fix your system's problem, then the issue may be with a hardware component. There are several other troubleshooting measures you can take to try to remedy a networking problem before you do something drastic, like replace a switch. NetWorthy Systems can walk you through tips like these when you call us at 877-760-7310 about IT issues that you may be having. We think the best way to troubleshoot is to first try to do as much as we can remotely with our remote monitoring and maintenance tool. This way, we can save you money by not sending a technician to visit your office unless it's absolutely necessary.
Call us today to save money with your IT expenses. You will be surprised by how easy it is!