It’s official: LEDs have taken over, and are now making products that have always been cool or useful even more amazing with the addition of lights that practically never burn out. First it was appliance displays, followed by Christmas lights and HDTVs. And now: patch cords?
Meet EVO6™ Self-Tracing Patch Cords from Mertek. I’ll confess, my first (too quick) glance at the name brought on a cringe-worthy thought of Rachael Ray cheerful rasping on about EVOO (for you non-Food Network afficionados, that’s a pseudo-cutesy acronym for extra virgin olive oil), but that soon gave way to rapt admiration for the genius that is EVO6. EVO6™ patch cords are Cat6 (hence the “6″ part of their name), but that’s beside the point: all you really need to know is that their connectors have build-in LEDs, and that you use said LEDs to instantly trace the patch cords and find their precise connection points… at both ends.
The process is easy, because in addition to LEDs being built into both connectors of each patch cord, there’s also a tiny built-in button on the cord boot. Push it, and the LEDs are instantly activated, meaning that your patch cord will be blinking red at both ends. No feeling your way along the cable’s length, no guessing, no need for additional cable tracers - just push a button and you’re done.
Sounds like you just freed up a lot of time… maybe now you can catch up on Rachael Ray and her EVOO.
Lesser-Known Fact: Cable labeling is a lot more fun when the wire markers remind you of the Spokey-Dokes you used to snap onto your bike wheels back in elementary school.
Yes, I went there. I just compared a very interesting new form of wire marker to the ’80s bike accessory that left baskets and handlebar streamers in the dust as they went zooming down the street to the neighbor kid’s house with an unmistakable “slide-clack-slide-clack-slide-clack-slide-clack” and blur of neon colors. Meet the next wave of cable-labeling awesomeness: Clip-Tags Plastic Wire Markers from HellermannTyton®.
Clip-Tags are so simple, yet so functional. They have a tube-shaped design that’s open along one side, so they can be easily slipped onto cables and wires, even if the cables are preterminated with larger connectors, or are already in use and can’t be unplugged to have, say, a heat-shrink sleeve label slipped over the end. That’s the “Spokey-ness” of them – a small, plastic, bead-like object that’s designed to snap around another object in any configuration you choose.
Clip-Tags are available in single digits ranging from 1 to 9, so you’re free to apply multiples in different combinations to create any number or code you need. They’re easy to apply, too – Clip-Tags come packaged on a unique flared applicator that lines up right against the cable you’re labeling so that you can simply slide a number into place, wherever you need it to be. There’s no need to wrestle around with these things – they’re very straightforward.
Another cool feature is that because Clip-Tags are only one digit long and have the ability to move a little bit, they still allow the labeled area of a network cable to flex and bend, unlike other wraparound labels that tend to add a degree of rigidity. So if your cables need a little wiggle room, these are perfect.
Plus, they’re just like Spokeys… did I mention that?
Filed under: Network Products, Server Racks and Enclosures
If you’re an IT professional who feels anxiety and tears welling up whenever you have to troubleshoot amidst the waterfalls of tangled patch cords hanging off your server, take heart. One of our favorite rack-mount cable managers, the Neat Patch, does away with network cable insanity and leaves you with rows of neatly ordered patch cords, none of which stick out beyond the edge of your server rack. I’ve seen the Neat Patch in action on our own servers, and the end results are really amazing. So what sets this cable manager apart from the rest?
To begin with, it does away with excess. The folks at Neat Patch had the epiphany that you don’t actually need 6 feet of cable to make a connection between patch panel ports that are only 1 foot apart! As a matter of fact, a 2-foot patch cable does the trick — not only does it achieve the connection, but leaves you with enough cable to form a single bend-radius-protecting loop, which is tucked into Neat Patch’s storage compartment, a recessed, rackmounted trough that’s installed between the two patch panels being connected.
But that’s not all. As a finishing touch, cover panels snap into place to cover the patch cord loops, and you’re left with beautifully organized, perfectly traceable connections — not to mention lower blood pressure.