One of the things we talk about often in cable management besides having the right cable management and rack management systems that make your data center the most efficient, is using an effective cable labeling system.
Jump to Section:
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
- Use the Right Cabel Label Printer
- Color Coded Cable Labels
- Label Size and Information Matters
- Label Wherever You Can
- Have a Standard Cable Labeling Nomenclature
- Final Thoughts
The reason is simple. Nearly every technician has said, at one point or another, “I wish I had labeled that.” So whether you are just getting started with labels or you are labeling existing systems, the question is the same. How do you design an effective cable labeling system? Here are some things to consider.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
First, use a reusable label system. Not only is this better for the environment, it is better for your system as well. For example, if you use UniTag reusable cable labels, they snap on (and off) so you can mark and identify cables quickly.
But more importantly, if you change something or replace a cable, you simply remove the cable label and put it back on the new cable or in the new location. Easy, and with no waste. It saves time, too. There’s no need to reprint a label or find a different connector.
Use the Right Cable Label Printer
This might seem like a no-brainer but starting with the right equipment when you’re developing an effective cable labeling system is just as important as when you are planning the layout or rearranging your data center. Ideally a label printer should be portable, have a large memory to load a variety of label styles, and should also be efficient.
Efficiency means long battery life, but also the efficient use of label cartridges. How often have you trimmed a label before applying it? Wouldn’t it be better of the label was the right size in the first place?
Epson LW-PX printers have innovative technology that reduces lead margins and will “rollback” before printing to prevent that waste. They also have auto full and half cut features that allow you to print a variety of labels in the field, and the large storage capacity means you’ll always have the labels you need at your disposal, from custom created ones to dozens of industry standard symbols.
The other important feature is toughness. Everyone has that employee who frequently has a case of the “dropsies.” But accidents happen to everyone, and printers get dropped, fall off of racks, or suffer even worse treatment. The Epson printer body meets MilSpec drop tests, and has a built in handle that makes it easier to carry (and less likely to be dropped).
Color Coded Cable Labels
One of the downfalls of a labeling strategy can be too many labels of the same color, and several flag ties that make it challenging to see what is going on. Using a variety of colors in a color coded cable run helps you identify cables at a glance, and can help you follow cables more easily.
Because you can use the Epson labels on any size of cable or group of cables, you ‘ll reduce label clutter, which comes with a whole host of advantages.
Label Size and Information Matters
Sometimes you need more detail than you can put in one line of type. Use labels that are large enough to include multiple lines of type, so your labels make sense to everyone in the data center. Remember, you might not be the one coming back to work on that particular server, so the more detail you include in your labels, the better.
This also impacts readability. A color can tell the technician what type of cable they are dealing with. The label itself tells them the greater detail they need to know to follow the cable and troubleshoot quickly. The reason for labels is that moment later on when a technician is troubleshooting.
Consider the question, “What would another technician need to know about this cable to work efficiently?” That’s the information that should be included in your label.
Best practice guide to a three line cable label:
- Near end termination – Port number on patch panel or hub or wall outlet number or physical location
- Far end termination – Patch panel location or hub/switch location and port number
- Cable purpose – circuit ID or functional description of a cable or patch cord
Label Wherever You Can
For label tags, removable adhesive label tape may be the best choice, but there are other applications your printer and your labels need to serve. You may need to label a heat shrink tube, or you may want a fluorescent label for some applications.
Epson Labelworks PX printers offer different kinds of label cartridges to meet different needs. You should encourage technicians, and remember yourself, those moments when you wish you had labeled something, even if it isn’t a cable. Instead of thinking, “I wish I had labeled that,” you can say, “I’m glad I labeled that.”
Have a Standard Cable Labeling Nomenclature
No matter what cable labeling system you have and what printer you use to implement it, it will all be for nothing unless everyone is on the same page. Think of it: one technician might call a group of cables one thing, and another tech might label it differently, or not understand the label on the cable.
Not only is it important to label, but part of your labeling system should include a “key” of terms, abbreviations, and names. Everyone should use the same “key” or system. That way, there is no misunderstanding about what a cable run is, or what that abbreviation really stands for.
Are there any secrets to an effective cable labeling system? Not really. It’s pretty simple:
- Use the right tags and equipment
- Use color coding where appropriate
- Be consistent with terms and labels
- Label everything that you might wish later was labeled
- Include all relevant details on your labels
With the right cable labeling system, you’ll save time, money, and energy. Your installers and technicians will be more efficient, and overall your data center will be more profitable.
Need help with your cable labeling system? Contact AnD Cable Products today. We’ll help you find the right solution to meet your needs.
Introducing the Ultimate Data Center Cable Labeling System
Cable Management Just Got More Economical, Efficient and Robust
AnD Cable Products and Epson Labelworks have teamed up to develop the Ultimate Data Center Cable Labeling System with a selection of bundled cable labeling products that, when used together will revolutionize your cable mangaement, efficiency and costs.
UniTag® Reusable Cable Labels – A plastic snap-on cable labeling system that provides a quick and easy way to mark and identify cables
Epson Labelworks PX Printers – A portable label and wire marker solution with exclusive time and costsaving features for creating custom labels
Epson’s PX Label Tapes Fit Onto AnD Cable’s UniTag® Cable Labels PERFECTLY!
About the Author
Louis Chompff, Founder & Managing Director, AnD Cable Products
Louis established AnD Cable Products – Intelligently Designed Cable Management in 1989. Prior to this he enjoyed a 20+ year career with a leading global telecommunications company in a variety of senior data management positions. Louis is an enthusiastic inventor who designed, patented and brought to market his innovative Zero U cable management racks and Unitag cabel labels, both of which have become industry-leading network cable management products. AnD Cable Products only offer products that are intelligently designed, increase efficiency, are durable and reliable, re-usable, easy to use or reduce equipment costs. He is the principal author of the Cable Management Blog, where you can find network cable management ideas, server rack cabling techniques and space saving tips, data center trends, latest innovations and more.
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