Chapter 29

Ten Things You Should Keep in Your Closet

When you first network your office computers, you need to find a closet where you can stash some network goodies. If you can’t find a whole closet, shoot for a shelf, a drawer, or at least a sturdy cardboard box.

Here’s a list of what stuff to keep on hand.

Duct Tape

Duct tape helped get the crew of Apollo 13 back from their near-disastrous moon voyage. You won’t actually use it much to maintain your network, but it serves the symbolic purpose of demonstrating that you realize things sometimes go wrong and you’re willing to improvise to get your network up and running.

If you don’t like duct tape, a little baling wire and some chewing gum serve the same symbolic purpose.


Make sure that you have at least a basic computer toolkit, the kind you can pick up for $15 from just about any office supply store. At the minimum, you’ll need a good set of screwdrivers, plus wire cutters, wire strippers, and cable crimpers for assembling RJ-45 connectors.

Patch Cables

Keep a good supply of patch cables on hand. You’ll use them often: when you move users around from one office to another, when you add computers to your network, or when you need to rearrange things at the patch panels (assuming you wired your network using patch panels).

When you buy patch cables, buy them in a variety of lengths and colors. One good way to quickly make a mess of your patch panels is to use 15' cables when 3' cables will do the job. And having a variety ...

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