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New York, NY

1 edit

Wax/Zip/Velcro - go!

So in my years of digging around in datacenters, corporate offices and telco CO's, I see a lot of people prefer different mediums to manage cables.... I also see various people with VERY intense needs to "ding" people for using one method over another....

I prefer wax line/lacing in a telco / (never going to move again) environment.

I prefer velcro in the corporate world for ease of movement...

I end up using zip ties because of availability of those damn things (they're like roaches, just everywhere).

I'm very interested to hear what peoples' opinions are on each and their reasoning behind it.... While this is technically not a "photo of broadband gear" this forum has a VERY wide range of people from admins to datacenter techs....

3-2-1 GO!

Other than the fact they are a PITA when you want to move stuff around, I don't see anything wrong with zip ties.

Heck, zip ties are even used on aircraft wiring. No joke.

Oakville, ON
reply to imseanbrown
I use velcro everywhere I can, primarily because velcro cable ties have become cheap and plentiful. I was once trapped in the middle of nowhere, and forced to run a couple hundred cables. Sadly I had to use zip ties, which did the trick, but made me feel very dirty. Zip ties carry with them an obligation for the next person who has to touch that cable bundle to have to perform the risky operation of cutting the tie, usually while the cable is in service. I try not to pass on these pains to my successors.

Sadly I never learned to cable lace .
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Mclean, VA
·T-Mobile US
·Verizon FiOS
said by packetpusher:

the next person who has to touch that cable bundle to have to perform the risky operation of cutting the tie, usually while the cable is in service.

I carry a pair of blunt-nosed tin snips for this reason, it works pretty well. I like to use velcro ties whenever possible, baring that I use zip ties. The problem with zip ties is the tendency for people to over tighten them imo. Cable weaving is the worst because it's ridiculously hard to trace a line when their woven together like that, and you can't find which one it is by tugging on it .


reply to imseanbrown
I prefer wax string but I use wireties just as much. If you use the right wire tie and you don't over tighten them they are just as effective. The roll around card I use in our datacenter has probably 10 to 12 different types and sizes of wireties.

I hate it when someone uses a 7" wiretie to tie 3 or 4 cables together. Oh and you never, ever, ever fail to cut the tail off of a wiretie.


reply to imseanbrown
Hmmm... I have begun doing some lacing and I have to admit I hate it. I'm more on the datacenter side of things than the telco side. In DC environment there just isn't anything that qualifies as the "Never going to move again" environment. So it's a bit of a waste I find. I prefer zip ties as long as they are done correctly, and they are no more of a hassle if you have the right kind of cutters.

Just as there is an art to wire lacing, there is the same art to zip ties. Just because it's there doesn't mean it's done right. Fiber is a different story and that I do resort to velcro. But for Cat5 and such it's just simple zip ties.

London, UK
reply to imseanbrown
I used zip ties in my previous job. In my current job they loooooove velcro and use it for everything. Theres a huge stock pile of rolls of velcro in the office.

Personally I dislike those pieces of velcro fasioned up like a cable tie. Seems kind of like it has a lost identity. Am I velcro, or am I a cable tie? One or the other for me.

I dont mind zip ties as long as you dont do them up tight. IMO they are neater (being more obscure than a fat piece of velcro, and more secure.

What I usually tell people is "youre not trying to hold back a jumbo jet, just hold these cables in place". I use the same line when tightening screws in the rack. You just need to do them up enough to hold it there...

reply to imseanbrown
I refuse to use velcro, period.

Zip ties are most commonly found because of time, as not all jobs justify wax string due to cost. Any time we do telco related items however we lace. Personally I try and lace everything without exception. I do use ties for temporary tie down until later date of strip-out or I can lace up the wiring.

Overall, I am hardcore pro-wax string.
"Saying something in another language that you don't think the other person understands is just saying that you're a pussy and are too afraid to say it in English." --Harddrive

Mclean, VA
Waxing takes far too long imo, to try and do on a regular basis. Yes, it's a tried and true classic method, but zip ties work better, and are much faster.


Carmel, NY
reply to imseanbrown
When climbing around on the Ladder racks running new power or data. I prefer Lace. Zipties when cut just wrong, hurt like hell when you don't see them and drag your knuckles across the ends.

Bernie, MO

1 recommendation

Wax string and velcro for me. Primarily wax string though.

Two of our CO's are within 200 yards of very active train tracks. Tieing cables down is a necessity in those two. Twice a year we go through the entire CO checking for loose connections.
I survived Hale-Bopp!

reply to imseanbrown
I've got 14 years working for various telco's and equipment installation companies - I've progressed to being the QA man - I am now the dick that ding's you...

String, Zip-ties/Ty-wraps, and velcro all have a place - it's using the right one in the right application; and doing it neatly and "in a workman like fashion."

Where I'm at now - breaks down basically like this:

Lacing cord is used for DC power, and multi-pair VF cabling...

Ty-wraps are used for multi-pair data cabling.

Velcro is used on fibre and 4pair data cabling.

No matter which you're using, it should be neat, straight, square, and secure - that means tight enough to hold whatever you're trying to hold, but not so tight as to do damage...

As for horror stories about QA guys - first QA guy I worked with (big biker dude from Northern Telecom) - did this to me...

I'd just finished lacing 16 runs of 750 MCM power cable, 4x4 form - about 12-15' of it - he walks up, used a knife to point out where the string was twisted, then walked the entire length of what I'd just stiched, cutting the whole thing...


Beachwood, OH
I prefer zip ties because I know how to install them properly without damaging the cables. For stuff that has to look really clean, I use velcro. I have not learned how to lace cables, I wish someone could teach me. One of the sound companies in Toledo laces all the cables in their racks and it makes everything look really nice. It's just hard to add or remove a single cable :P