"I'm trying to clean-up the rack of systems I inherited. One of the
things that I'd like to do is clearly label the CAT5 cables from the
server to the switch, etc. Just curious what others use to do this.
Permanent marker on cable? Some type of tag or label affixed?"
My recommendation is to think of what you would want to see when you are troubleshooting a critical problem with a thick mass of cabling right in front of you. As much stuff as is getting connected now it is well worth the trouble to do some planning and have some forethought. I've seen enough disaster areas on campus. :o) It takes a lot more time to fix things when network cabling and documentation is disorganized.
Plus, it looks much cooler when cables aren't strewn all over the place pell mell.
You could use different color patch cables for user/server/DMZ/unprotected etc. You could also label ports on the switch with labeler and keep a sheet closeby with port descriptions.
I really don't like to see tags with "flags" hanging from patch cables, they are really hard to read and get in the way big time. Printing a label and affixing it along the cable is the best way to do it I have found. Don't write on the cable, it is sure to be unreadable and you can't remove sharpie and relabel. Panduit has write-on labels. Check their site.
When googling http://www.google.com/search?q=panduit+labels I came across this site which looks pretty good.
Shoot me an email if you have any questions.
Michael V. Lang
MSU ATS Network Engineering
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SCE to AUX