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For many businesses, the installation of new, modern networking infrastructure may be a bit too much to take on. Your business may choose to rely on legacy copper cabling already in place. Without some maintenance, this cabling can begin to fail, requiring expensive fixes or, in the end, that same installation of new infrastructure you were working to avoid. We have a few ideas on how to maintain your legacy network cabling and expand its lifespan as long as possible.

Quarterly Network Administrator Checks

If you’re operating a network with legacy (copper) cabling, one of the many things that will help keep it running is conducting professional network maintenance checks on a quarterly basis. Every three to four months, hire an outside network professional (like any of the experienced techs with BACS) to fully diagnose your infrastructure.

Legacy infrastructure cabling based on copper wiring has its downsides. Some of those include weight, sparking, flammability, and EMI. When put together, these create some serious possible pitfalls.

Routine network checks, run regularly, should include signal transmissin tests, EMI tests, cable rack/tray tests, and overall network hardware tests. Don’t stop testing when one problem is found — it may not stem from the copper wiring itself and so a full diagnostic will still need to be run to find all possible concerns.

Wire Diagnostics

Unlike fiber optic network cabling, copper cabling actually contains metal cables carrying signal. It’s important to check on the physical status of these cables on a monthly basis. When checking your network cabling, look for the following:

  • Fraying cable ends
  • Holes, openings, or breaks in outer cabling casing
  • Fraying, frayed, or loose connection points

With an older network infrastructure, time will create natural wear and tear. If you see any of the aforementioned when conducting routine wire diagnostics, it is a sign that frayed wiring will need replaced, or that it may be time t invest in newer, lighter fiber optic infrastructure.

Data Diagnostics

Alongside physically checking copper wires for signs of breakdown, the diagnostic will need to check for possible data breakdowns as well. When running data diagnostics on a legacy network infrastructure, look for the following:

  • Bottlenecks
  • Slower than normal bandwidth throughput speeds, or speeds that seem to be constantly slowing
  • Data transmission failure
  • Data Transmission flow reversal caused by EMI
  • Current issues – reversal, failure, surging

As data grows more multilayered and dense, legacy networks become more prone to bottlenecks. The load on legacy wiring continues to grow, and sooner or later it will exceed capacity. Bottlenecks in a legacy network are definite signs that a company’s data use has outgrown its infrastructure.

Continuing to operate your SMB with a legacy network will eventually cause major headaches and data slowdowns. Many business owners weigh the pros and cons of investing in newer networks vs. paying only for upkeep and repair on legacy networks that will, eventually, require replacement nonetheless. The best way to decide on the course of action that is right for your company is to speak to experienced professionals who can give you advice tailored for your company’s needs and budget. That’s where Bay Area Computer Solutions comes in. We pride ourselves on professionally installed and maintained network cabling for businesses of every size. Interested in learning more? Give us a call at (650) 887-4601 or contact us online today!

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Published on 13th October 2015 by James Berger.