Labeling and Documentation – CompTIA Network+ N10-006 – 5.7

It can be difficult to find the correct data run or server if you don’t have a good documentation strategy. In this video, you’ll learn about labeling cables, systems, circuits, and patch panels.
<< Previous: Rack SystemsNext: Change Management Procedures >>

When you have a computing environment, you will very quickly have many devices and many cables, so it’s important that you’re able to label and document everything in your environment. If you’ve ever wondered how to start the documentation process for all of your cabling, one good place to go would be the ANSI/TIA/EIA 606 standard. This is the administration standard for the telecommunications infrastructure of commercial buildings, and they will help you decide how you’re able to set up this documentation. How should the information be presented in reports and drawings and work orders.

It also discusses pathways and spaces and how things are grounded. You want to be sure the you have the proper identifiers and labeling on all of these. And the cables themselves, should they be different colors? How should the labeling work and what color should you use for the different connections in your network? Of course, you don’t have to use the ANSI standard for these, but this is a good idea of how you could start with labeling in your environment.

Everything should be tagged and labeled in a very standard format. You should, for instance. Have standard port labels. You should have maybe CB01A-D088, and understand that port label means something. It means that CB01 is the main facility, 01A is floor one, space A, and D088 means that it is a data port numbered 88. You can also use these colors that you know exactly what type of data is running over what type of cable. And of course all of this should be documented and stored in the master databases so that anybody can access this information from anywhere.

Of course you also need to label your workstations or your servers. You’ll have certainly more than one person who is working on a particular server or workstation, so you need to be sure that everybody’s talking about the right device, especially if you’re planning to make changes. There’s usually some type of unique system identifier. You can use an asset tag number, perhaps the name of the system itself, or maybe even a serial number for that device. This should also be very obvious and very clear. You should walk up to a device and be able to determine what this device is based on this criteria.

If we look at this server, we can even see that there happens to be bar codes, which probably are associated with the serial numbers. There’s the name of the device itself with a label that’s been attached, and it appears there is an asset tag that has been connected to these devices as well. This allows you to cross-reference and make sure that if you’re making changes to a device that you have exactly the correct device in mind.

It’s also a good idea to label your wide area network connections. These WAN connections are usually running, but when they stop working you need to be able to find out where that particular link might be. You need to make sure that you label the demarcation interface, label the CSU/DSU with the information. You might want to label the router as well, so that you know all of the different components in use for that WAN connection.

You should probably put the WAN provider circuit ID information, because you’ll need that when you talk to the WAN provider. Make sure you have maybe contact information or phone numbers to call in case there is a problem with the WAN connection. And there’s probably going to be an internal name for the connection as well. You’ll need to make sure that everybody in your organization understands what the naming convention for that is as well.

You need to label your patch panels as well. There’s not a lot of room on the patch panel for labeling, but many patch panels like this one will have spaces to put your own text and information in. You may want to number each side of the link as well. Usually you have incremental numbers like you do on this patch panel. But they might also describe where this particular link happens to be going. Especially if you’re numbering everyone’s cube or everyone’s desk, you may also want to put those numbers on this end of the patch as well.