Project management at home: the network panel challenge

Home network panel at beginning of projectI’ve started noticing how I’m tackling projects at home much like I do at work. At work, I’m the guy that gets called up to clean up messes — a janitor of sorts — because some projects don’t run perfectly. It requires strong analytical skills which is my strong suit. Based on my experience, jumping into the middle of a project requires three things:

  1. Ensuring that you don’t waste time on the “blame game.”
  2. Identifying a path to take the project from the current state to the end state.
  3. Keeping the team focused on their goal avoid another project “derailment.”

So following these same steps, I decided to tackle our home media network panel (see image above). The network panel was organized in such a way that the wires from each room were bundled together. While in theory it sounded logical as the wires originated from the same outlet, the panel was very difficult to manage because the bundled wires from each room had to be split up and terminated into the same module. For example, the coax wires from the office and the living room, which were bundled with the telephone/satellite/network wires from the same room, had to be bundled together and terminated in the coax cable splitter module.

To correct it, I decided that I needed to organize the wires based on their function vs. the point of origination. So I cut a hole in the sheetrock above the panel and then fished out all of the cables from the panel. I then threaded them back into the panel through one of the three available holes — one hole served all of the coax cables together, another all of the RJ45 telephone wires together, etc. Since the network map got misplaced, I also checked and relabeled each wire so that I knew which room they serviced. The outcome of this 3+ hour project was a well-organized network panel:

Home network panel at end of project

Home network panel at end of project (alt view)

From this point on, I can easily plug in cables and know that the outlet will be live. My next step is to look at replacing the telephone and A/V equipment.

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1 Comment

  1. Love it.  My home is older so I have a board.  Pretty organized though.  What I need to tackle is the electrical panel.  Only a few labels of things I have recently worked on; otherwise, completely unlabeled.

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