Andersen Consulting puts patch-cord management plan into action

Andersen Consulting, a global management and technology consulting firm, employs more than 53,000 professionals and earns more than $6 billion annually. The firm's mission is to help clients from a wide range of industries achieve success by aligning people, processes, and technology with sound strategy to achieve optimal business performance.
As a rule, Andersen Consulting looks outside traditional industry borders to expand and improve its business. That approach is in line with the recent steps that one division of the company - The Financial Ideas Exchange - took to upgrade the performance and aesthetics of its patch-cord management system. The division is located in the heart of Manhattan and was dealing with a patch-cord management system that was as tough to negotiate as New York City traffic and is typical of our industry; it looked like a rat's
nest.

Before
After and Forever!

Andersen dealt with two Category 5 management structures. One was a cabinet with patch panels and a concentrator with 100Base-T and 10Base-T boards, and the other was a 110 wall field with more than 350 patch cords interfacing between the horizontal cabling system and the network equipment. The Andersen Consulting Technology team, led by Jay Feliciano, constantly faced loose connections, excessive time spent tracing patch cords, and the everyday embarrassment of unattractive management systems. The team had repeatedly attempted to clean up these systems, using traditional management techniques that did not work for them.
Finally, Feliciano decided to try the PerfectPatch, a device that provides adjustability to each patch-cord and custom fits the cord in seconds.

"It seems like such a simple concept; you really can't believe its performance until you see it for yourself," Feliciano says. "Now all I have to do is look at the management system to see if the people on my staff are using the PerfectPatch on each cord. And I know my system looks great and functions well."

 
"A Practical Approach to Patch-cord Management"

Before
 
After and Forever!
"I am greatly impressed by the improved aesthetics and management that have taken place by installing the PerfectPatch. Now I don't have to worry about snagging or disconnecting other patch cords and putting someone out of commission when moving a patch-cord."
Bill Hermack, EE
System Administrator
   
Developing the future standard for high performance cables. NEMA is developing the Performance Standard for Category 6 and Category 7 (100 ohm) Shielded and Unshielded Twisted Pair Cables. NEMA Standards Publications No. WC66-199x.

PerfectPatch is Utilized in BICSI Installation Training Program!
Chip Barnes
RCDD/LAN Specialist
President, Data Tel
"The PerfectPatch provides the contractor and end-user a level of flexibility in patch-cord management previously unavailable to the industry."
 
Chip Barnes demonstrates how the PerfectPatch clips onto a patch-cord in seconds, allowing you to adjust your patch-cord to a custom fit. This will drastically improve the management and performance over the life cycle of your patch-cord management system.
 

From the Installation Team:
"At JCS, we were amazed how little time & effort was required to use the PerfectPatch, keeping the patch-cords in these racks neat, quick to trace, and easy to move."
Lou Johnson,
President
Johnson
Communications
Services
As published in the February, 1998 issue of Communications News
Second time's a charm
When tailored patch cords couldn't fix a rat's nest of cables,
Cellular One used patch cord adjusters to give each cord a custom fit.
by Lou Johnson, Johnson Communications Services
It's a problem any company would love to have. Business was so good at Cellular One of Kansas that making rooms and providing connectivity for rapidly growing sales and customer service groups was turning into a huge challenge for the facilities and information systems staff.
The IS staff had to support significantly more users and systems without having the space to expand the computer room. Cabinets were packed with equipment and tangles of patch cords that were unmanageable.
Before

Johnson Communications Services (JCS) of Bucyrus, Kansas, was hired to bring order to the patch cord chaos. They replaced existing closed six-foot cabinets with open racks. Every patch cord in the LAN racks was rerun, tailored to length, and neatly routed. It was the best solution available at the time, but the neatness didn't last long.

With the new open racks and additional hubs, the patch cord problem was magnified. IS technicians found that tailored cords did not move from one part to another easily-they were always too long or too short. Cords of excess length became knotted in the wire management panels and were drooping on the floor.

Johnson Communications Services (JCS) of Bucyrus, Kansas, was hired to bring order to the patch cord chaos. They replaced existing closed six-foot cabinets with open racks. Every patch cord in the LAN racks was rerun, tailored to length, and neatly routed. It was the best solution available at the time, but the neatness didn't last long.

With the new open racks and additional hubs, the patch cord problem was magnified. IS technicians found that tailored cords did not move from one part to another easily-they were always too long or too short. Cords of excess length became knotted in the wire management panels and were drooping on the floor.

After and Forever

Fortunately, JCS had a new option - patch cord adjusters called PerfectPatches, from PerfectPatch, Inc., of Sterling, VA. They allow installers to adjust the length of a patch cord up to 60% of its original length instead of letting the slack hang everywhere. Each time a patch cord is moved, the PerfectPatch is removed to adjust the patch cord for a custom fit.

Starting at 8pm one Saturday, JCS reworked the Cellular One network racks with PerfectPatches - no small task with well over 350 patch cords and cables across two racks. Every patch cord and cable was removed from the racks. Larger wire management rings were installed and, starting from scratch, each connection and cord was rerun, this time using the new patches.

Nine hours later, the job was done. Everything was reconnected and once again the racks were looking good.

At the same time, Steve Sartain, IS network engineer and the lead strategist for the Cellular One network, implemented new switching and segmentation to better manage and maintain the network. Every device level connection was documented.

Cellular One is confident the fix will last this time. Every patch cord can be traced; there are not knots; and there is no slack lying on the floor.

 
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