Cable management refers to an important step during the installation of building services (i.e. electrical services) and the subsequent installation of equipment providing means to tidily secure electrical, data, and other cables. The term is often used interchangeably to refer to products used for the purpose of managing cables or to the workmanship carried out to cables whilst being installed. Cable management is important in many fields, such as IT, communications, power distribution, facility wiring, local area networks, etc.
The purpose of cable management is twofold: to support the cables whilst being routed through the building from Point A to B (often called containment), and to make subsequent management of the cables through the lifetime of the installation easier.
Typically, products such as cable trays, cable ladders, and cable baskets are used to support a cable through cabling routes. The IT industry has special needs because, unlike heavy power cables, data cables often need to be added, moved, or removed many times during the life of the installation. It is usual practice to install "fixed cables" between cabling closets or cabinets. These cables are contained in cable trays etc., and are terminated at each end onto patch panels in the communications cabinet or outlets at the desktop. The circuits are then interconnected to the final destination using patch cords.
Cables can easily become tangled, making them difficult to work with, sometimes resulting in devices accidentally becoming unplugged as one attempts to move a cable. Such cases are known as "cable spaghetti".
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