I’m wracking my brain, and no matter how hard I try, I can’t think of a single context in which sagging is a good thing. Think about it: sagging skin… sagging roofs… sagging exhaust systems… sagging pants – you get the idea. When stuff starts to drag, it’s, well… a drag. Especially when it comes to cables. Whoever thought that a little bit of gravity-weighted cable slack would be enough to knock out, or at least slow down and mess up, an entire data signal?
It’s true: when cables are left without enough support, they start to sag under the influence of gravity, and this downward pull (called cable strain) is often enough to distort the conductor (the inner wire that carries signals) to the point that it just doesn’t work right. And when a cable doesn’t work right, that means that your Internet connection or cable TV signal is a lot weaker/far more sporadic than it should be, or not there at all. Cable strain also usually means that you have to shell out for a new cable that’s fit for the job. In a nutshell, no good can come of it.
That’s why I’m such a fan of these strain relief clamps from Richco. Designed to shore up cable in situations where it would otherwise be slumping, strain relief clamps are used every so often along a cable run to secure wires to a sturdy surface, and prevent evil gravity from taking its toll.
Design and installation-wise, they’re very simple. The strain relief clamps are basically an elongated oval shape, with a wire channel running crosswise along the underside (that’s the part that holds the cable), and a small hole at each end, through which you can drive screws to hold the clamp in place on a wall or another flat surface. This particular mounting method makes them sturdier than less-permanent adhesive-backed cord clips, and also means that they can do double duty, not only supporting cables as they travel from Point A to Point B, but also helping to route and guide them, as well.
And we can all use a little extra guidance…
Poor Wire Duct. Nobody ever looks at it twice. It always shows up and does its job, but the people who depend on it most are always drawn to the “prettier,” more interesting things in the room, like the shiny server enclosures, or all of the electronics with their displays and flashy LED lights. Let’s face it: if the typical networking environment were a school dance, wire loom would be the one who stood unnoticed in the corner all night.
But believe it or not, I just did a double-take… and at a piece of wire duct, no less. Not because it was shiny or unbelievably good looking, but because if its very unique talent: bending. Bendable wire duct? Yes, you heard me right , and I no, am not pulling your leg. Wire duct, always known for being on the uptight and rigid side (structurally speaking) has now loosened up, become a lot more flexible, and started going by the name “Richflex.”
If you haven’t already figured out why Richco® Richflex is so great, I’ll tell you: cable runs, on occasion, have to bend. Into corners, out of corners, around corners… you get the idea. But put them in a stick-straight piece of wire duct, and the bending part gets tricky. It usually involves cutting the wire duct where the bend needs to occur, and then splicing the pieces back together with preformed plastic elbows. It’s a drag.
That’s why the thought of flexible wire duct is enough to bring a thrill of joy to the cable installer’s heart – no cutting, no custom splicing; just a quick flick of the wrist, and Richflex goes in the direction you need it to. All of this bendability even applies to Richflex’s “fingers” – whenever you need to break a cable away from the rest of the run, just bend a rung aside to make the transition easier.