Although WiFi 802.11X is becoming increasingly popular, Ethernet cable remains king when it comes to networking for LAN parties. For nearly any size event, the networking and power cables can quickly become overwhelming to adequately manage. Using duct tape can often meet the needs for keeping cables secure to the floor, but when it comes time to remove the tape it often leaves behind a great deal of residue and can be a pain to clean; in addition to looking like a mess while spanning the length of the floor. Alternatively, carpet rugs can often handle the needs of keeping cables secure to the flooring in order to prevent possible hazards, but suitable lengths of carpet often come at a price and duct tape is still generally needed to secure the area. Yet there is still another way to handle these cable management needs for any large event, or in our needs a LAN party, and that is by using professionally designed wire management solutions. With us today we have several products from the folks at Cable Organizer, and these items are the Cable Management Kit, Dropover-Lite, and Flexiduct Cord Protectors. The Cable Management Kit is designed for handling a small number of cables for routing them against any wall, while the Dropover-Lite is designed to primarily cover any cables on the floor mainly in an industrial environment. Similar to the Dropover-Lite units, the Flexiduct Cord Protectors are designed to organize a smaller amount of cables on the ground. A majority of the testing today, where applicable, was tested during an 100+ person LAN party setup in the western-Michigan area for which we are active administrators. Due to having a limited amount of samples available, we used the various products sparingly throughout the environment with the most focus being on the Dropover-Lite units. Below are several pictures of our poor wire management techniques using duct-tape in various areas for power cables.
Included with the Cable Organizer Cable Management Kit are three channels (four-foot length), 2 flat elbows, 1 inside elbow, 1 outside elbow, 1 t-fitting, and 2 couplings. All of these parts are made of UL 94-VO compliant and flame resistant PVC material. These cable raceways can be cut using a knife or saw, to fit the needs of any environment, and then can be attached to the wall using the self-adhesive strip on the channels. Unfortunately, these channels aren't able to hold many cables as in our tests we were only able to safely hold 2-3 cables whether it be CAT5/6 or power cables. Selling for approximately $20 for the entire kit, this wire management solution isn't incredibly expensive but isn't exactly ideal for a temporary LAN situation due to its small capacity and adhesive backing.
Next up we tried out the Cable Organizer Flexiduct Cord Protectors, which are actually manufactured by Geist. These cord protectors allow a fair amount of cables to be inserted through the slit in bottom of the plastic protector. Once the cables are properly positioned, the Flexiduct rails can be attached to the floor using double-sided tape. Depending upon model, the Flexiduct Cord Protectors are merely 3.00-3.25" in width and between 0.75-1.10" high to prevent the possibility of tripping over the cables. Currently the cord protectors are available in 6, 15, and 25-foot lengths and available in beige, black, brown, gray, and safety yellow colors. The samples we used were both of six-foot length and black.
Finally, we're onto discussing the Dropover-Lite units. In our testing, we found these units to be most functional for temporary LAN party setup. With us today we have the Dropover-Lite CPDO-357 unit as well as the CPDO-137. The CPDO-137 is 35.25" in length while being 5.25" wide where as the CPDO-357 is 33.5" long and 10.875" wide. Although not as durable as the non-Lite Dropover unit, we had no problem channeling about eight heavy-duty power cables through the CPDO-357 Dropover-Lite. On the other hand, the CPDO-137 was only able to handle between three to five cables. Although both models are able to interlock with additional Dropover-Lite units to form a longer channel, we were unable to test this feature due to the lack of additional samples at the time. In order to secure the item to the flooring, we were forced to use a great deal of duct tape for organizing the solution. Even with the small span of both the Dropover-Lite CPDO-357 and CPDO-137, they were able to effectively cover high traffic areas to prevent any tripping. As both models are made of polyurethane with a diamond plate raised texture, these durable cord protectors are quite expensive at $34.99 and $74.99.
When it comes to protecting cables, whether it is electrical or networking, we found the Dropover-Lite products to be most effective for large LAN gaming events. However, the Flexiduct Cord Protectors also assisted a great deal in managing a smaller amount of cables in less hectic areas. Lastly, the Cable Organizer Cable Management Kit isn't the best if you wish to use it for a temporary solution due to the tape residue left afterwards against the wall and its small capacity. Although the Dropover-Lite units do come at a cost, they save a great deal of time on setting up for an event and at tear down along with decreasing the likelihood of anyone tripping in the high-traffic areas.