Pro Tip: Spring Clean Your Network Closet

Your network closet is the cave or corner of your office (sometimes under a desk) that houses your main internet and network connections. Here lives your modem, your router, your printer, your scanner, the photocopier, likely a shredder, and a terrifying tangle of cables. Time to shed some light in there and find out what you’re dealing with before disaster strikes. Grab a couple of dry dusting cloths, something to label cables, a digital camera (or smartphone), a pad of paper and pen. Zip ties may come in handy. And a vacuum.

For safety, before you do anything else, power down all of your devices and then unplug everything from the wall – even the power bar. This will also prevent you from losing unsaved work. Please give everyone connected to your network ample warning of your scheduled maintenance!

before and after

You’re ready to begin. Make a list of every device you have and record it on your notepad. Is everything in use? When you’ve had more than one technician, intern, or co-op student working in the space, especially if you’ve changed internet, cable, or phone providers, it’s not uncommon for outdated hardware to be left behind. Make a note to remove anything taking up space. Pick a device to start with and follow the cables. Take a picture of the cable where it plugs into a device port. Especially handy if several devices use USB ports. Use your dry cloth to remove dust as you go and unplug the cable. If your dry cloth gets too dusty, choose another dry cloth to continue with – no rinsing and reusing with electronics. Affix clearly marked labels (think big, bold letters) a few inches away from each end of the cable so that you can easily see what device it connects to from now on. You can use something as simple as masking tape and a marker or as fancy as a cable label kit.

Use your dry cloths or vacuum to clean the remaining space. Keep your hardware clear of dust and anything else that shouldn’t be there. No stacks of outdated marketing material, no plastic bags, no garbage! We’ve seen it all. Hardware needs space to disperse heat through ventilation fans. Providing that space may prevent devices from overheating and becoming damaged. It may also prevent a fire hazard. A small shelving unit or rack can help keep your hub organized and efficient.

As you reassemble your hub, refer to your photo shoot to see where each device plugs in to minimize frustration. You can use zip ties to keep cables tidy. Twisted cables can cause network problems, and an unidentified spider web of cables makes locating the problem difficult. Finally, power your hub back up and make sure everything works. And if it doesn’t? Your clearly labeled cables will help your technician make fast work of the solution.

Ready to hire a pro to set up your network closet? Is your computer due for some spring cleaning? Contact Polarverse to find out how we can keep your network running smoothly all year long by calling 519-489-0646.