I was going to ask "best approach?" but I figured it would be closed.

I know how to tone/test a cable...but I'm looking for tools, ideas, approaches that will make the following project manageable and quickly done.

PROJECT: We have a new location that has existing CAT5e cabling. There are around 1,000 drops from 4 different closets. The existing cabling is poorly labeled at best.

Management has requested that we:

  • tone/test cables
  • label cables/patch panels/endpoints
  • Remove/tie up bad cabling

This is all to be done in-house...not professionally.

We currently have a few cable testers and a few wire labelers.

Besides ladders, etc., what other tools, etc. would be needed to get this done quickly and efficiently? Trying to tone out 1,000 cables doesn't sound fun, so anything that can make the job quicker and done properly is what I'm looking for. I'm open to any suggestions.


  • 2
    Whatever tool you choose to use, you'll still have to use it on every single wall socket... there's no way to avoid that if you don't already have a cabling map.
    – Massimo
    Jul 18 '11 at 13:57
  • Yeah, I figured...but I'm curious if there is an efficient way of going about it. Seems like there isn't any way to get past the legwork involved.
    – TheCleaner
    Jul 18 '11 at 15:09

I'd pair up a team (multiple teams if possible), give every person a cheap label maker, send one person with a tone generator to the desks (or wherever the drop are) and plug in, the other person in the closet with the probe. Walkie talkies might make things faster depending on the environment too. test after labeling. You should be able to do a couple hundred drops per day if you're moving quickly.

I only use Fluke gear, but I've heard good things about Paladin too.

  • 2
    +1 The only thing I would add is ensure your documentation is available electronically; even just a simple csv/txt is better than nothing. Trying to grep trough hundreds of pages of handwritten notes is slightly less fun than toning those 1000s of drops.
    – jscott
    Jul 18 '11 at 14:03
  • The Fluke MS2-KIT comes with a cable tester and tone probe; it's not cheap but the only thing it notable doesn't do is certify the cable gigabit ready. The testers capable of certifying cable are more expensive.
    – Chris S
    Jul 18 '11 at 14:06
  • I loves me some fluke. A tone and probe kit (fox and hound) might be useful in getting to the general location of the drops, but it's not strictly necessary.
    – Daniel B.
    Jul 18 '11 at 15:15
  • Any other recommendations besides the MS2-KIT for testing/toning? We currently have older Black Box gear from around 2001 that we use. Would buying new gear be worth it?
    – TheCleaner
    Jul 18 '11 at 15:30
  • 1
    @TheCleaner: Any tone/probe kit that you have should do the job of mapping the cables for you, if that's all you need to accomplish. If what you currently have works, then use it.
    – joeqwerty
    Jul 18 '11 at 15:44

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