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The cabling between our patch panel and switches isn't a complete nightmare (like this), but is far from well organized. As we add new wall jacks, or office moves happen, cables get moved on the patch panel; in a given cable bundle, one cable may go to port 10, the other to 410.
The key problem, I think, is because we have fewer switch ports (336) than patch panel ports (480) and so can't neatly arrange and tie up the cables in groups at the patch panel end in a one to one relationship to the switches.

How can I improve the arrangement of the cables at the patch panel end when they go anywhere and everywhere? Am I missing some obvious trick here, or do I just have to lie back and think of England?

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How many of those wall ports are needed at one time? How many cabinets is this across? –  Andrew Sep 20 '12 at 0:51
    
The patch panel is in a rack frame fixed to the floor/ceiling and hard up against a wall, so I can only run cables to one side or from the top via a cable ladder. We have cable management every fourth row. Not great, but I feel I could get it neat enough if I didn't have to move cables around at random on the patch panel end because we don't have enough switch ports to match the number of panel ports. Our utilization is relatively low; I'd say about 60% of ports are in use. –  Chris Sep 20 '12 at 12:28
    
To clarify: by "60% of ports are in use" I mean 60% of the switch ports are in active use. –  Chris Sep 20 '12 at 12:37
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1 Answer

Divide the switches up into patch panel sections. Switch 1 may go to panel 1, switch 2 to panel 2, etc. Once you get to a situation like this, there really isn't much you can do but go in at 1am and start pulling cables, re-routing and bundling when all the routing is complete.

Having a higher count of patch panel ports may necessitate couple new switches, especially if you are finding yourself disconnecting ports here and there to accommodate a temporary connection.

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Cable management loop panels (aka "cable tidys") are invaluable, too - if you have the space, mount one per patch panel AND one per switch. –  Andrew Sep 20 '12 at 2:06
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