Working in a data center requires you to perform a wide range of different tasks on a daily basis. Having access to the right networking tools and equipment is essential for getting things done correctly and in a timely manor. Some tools you’ll only need once in a while, but there are certain networking tools that will be used almost every day. Whether you are just getting started working in this type of environment, or you’ve been doing it for years, you always want to have the following tools with you.
Punch Down Tools
A punch down tool, also known as a krone tool, is a fairly simple handheld item that is used to insert wires into patch panels, punch down blocks, keystone modules, and other equipment. Using the tool is quite simple. Start by placing the wire into the slotted post in the punch block, and use the tool to press it straight down over the post. Most punch down tools are spring operated, which means when you apply sufficient pressure, the spring will trigger, which puts the wire in place.
These tools have a blade in them that is used to make a small cut through the insulation of the wire, which helps to ensure clean contact. This is necessary for avoiding noise on the cable, which can result in errors and other issues. The blade can also be used to cut through wires that need to be removed, such as any excess cabling that is left over after the wires have been punched.
There are many different models, some that don’t have the spring-loaded feature, some that have only one size blade, and others that have additional options. For a data center professional, it is well worth the investment to get one that will make their job as easy as possible.
Crimping and Wire Stripping Tools
When running cables in a data center it is important to make sure they are just the right length. If they are too short, they obviously won’t do the job. If they are too long, the cables will get tangled and in some cases damaged. This is why data center never buy pre-made cables. Instead, they make their own cables using a crimping and wire stripping tool. This type of tool can be used to make almost of cable.
Once you have measured off the length of cable that is needed, you can quickly cut it using this tool. Then, in order to expose the actual wires of the cable, the tool can strip off the plastic coating and insulation. Once the cable is placed securely into the desired type of connector, the crimping part of the tool can lock the wires in place.
Seasoned IT professionals know that one of the most difficult and frustrating issues to troubleshoot is a bad cable. When cables go bad they can cause a wide range of issues including a complete outage, dribbling errors on the circuit, sporadic interruptions, and more. Testing the integrity of a cable isn’t a difficult job, but it does require a good quality cable tester.
All data center professionals should have a cable tester that can perform a variety of tests on all the common cable types. The testers can send test data across the line toward a loop-back device to ensure full continuity. They can also ‘listen’ for data coming through on the line to ensure each wire within the cable is functioning properly.
Investing in Quality Networking Tools
When looking to buy any of these three tools, you’re going to want to make sure you choose the right one. Due to the fact that these are networking tools you’ll likely use on a very regular basis, it makes sense to choose models that have all the right features, and are of the highest quality. In the long run, it will save you a whole lot of time, hassle, and even money since they will last for years.