IT professionals who work in and manage networks always stress the importance of performance and uptime. Downtime is a very bad word in the IT world.
Yet, IT pros do a very curious thing. They gamble with their network every day. Some do it knowingly and others are unaware.
People gamble with network downtime needlessly. They make this terrible mistake, experience downtime, and it is all avoidable.
IT professionals are concerned with obtaining and implementing the right, high-performance network hardware. They are more than willing to spend substantial amounts of money on these purchases. After all, these purchases can be kind of cool and feel really important.
On the other hand, many of these same IT professionals who claim to be dedicated to high-performance and uptime completely ignore an essential piece of the network pie. They disrespect layer one and fail to use highest quality cables and cabling products.
You see it all over IT forums and online communities. Concerned IT pros will post questions about cables and you see a bunch of replies like this...
"Ahh... cables are all the same. Just get the cheapest you can find online."
"I don't think much about it. They are just cables."
"We just get the first cables we find. I'm not all that concerned about it."
"We shop for the lowest price we can find. We haven't had a problem so far."
Since lots of IT pros are saying this kind of thing, what is about to be said may not be popular.
Do not listen to these people. A cable is not just a cable. Sure, maybe it can seem that way on the surface. But that really is a superficial analysis of something that can either...
(A) greatly improve your network's performance
(B) slow down or take your network down in a hurry
Embracing the attitude that a cable is just a cable is taking on unnecessary risk. If anything, an IT pro should be the one who is concerned with managing risk.
It's strange that a person who states that they are highly concerned with performance and uptime could take for granted the medium by which much of the information is transported. This is not something to take lightly for the sake of saving a a few cents here and there.
When one really takes the time to look at the difference in quality and performance in cables, it's a real eye-opener.
Sure you can take the needless risk of buying the cheapest cables you can find. You can take the attitude of the the comments above. You can say, "Cables are all the same. Just get the cheapest you can find." But you are doing so at your own peril.
[caption id="attachment_2635" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Are you going to roll the dice on cheap cables? "] [/caption]
Just ask anyone who has experienced network problems that were caused by not respecting layer one and not managing their cable infrastructure properly. It's not pretty.
Being unconcerned with your cables, buying the cheapest you can find and falling back on "We've never had a problem yet" is kind of like eating poorly, not exercising and not buying life insurance because there hasn't been a major problem yet. Sure, it's a bit of a strong analogy, but the point is that this attitude is a dangerous one to have. You are inviting unnecessary risk into your life without proper protection.
Spending lots of money on hardware and then buying the cheapest cables you can find can be a lot like driving a Ferrari on a road full of potholes.
If you haven't yet, you should think about doing some homework on cables. For instance, go learn how fiber cables work, what makes a high-performance cable, what causes dB loss, how do failures happen, what is the best way to implement cables and maximize performance, etc.
If you truly are concerned with performance and minimizing downtime in your network it is highly recommended that you take some time to do some research.
CXtec and CABLExpress have a wide variety of ways you can learn all about cables. There is a series of fun informational cable videos, a blog, and webinars from experienced experts that specialize in cabling solutions.