Tue Dec 31 update...

Info added to On-topic help page.

Mon Dec 2 update...

Do we have ANY nay-sayers? Last call for input! Physical infrastructure looks to become explicitly on-topic.

Original question...

When people mention network infrastructure, they generally think about routers/switches. Yet, the problems that I encounter most are ones dealing with the physical nature of networking (cable/fiber). Crappy fiber runs, lack of cable management and bad airflow dynamics, just to name a few.

The Network Engineering topics don't mention anything about physical infrastructure.

Are these on topic?

If not, why?

  • If I want to know how to manage our broadband on a specific medium, I'd certainly come to Network Engineering. I absolutely agree with the physical structure being a L1 topic. Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 19:57
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    – YLearn
    Commented Jul 2, 2016 at 5:41

3 Answers 3


Yes, I think physical cabling would be on-topic

We've had some questions regarding physical cabling.

The ones which were closed would remain off-topic (home networking, vague, etc) even if physical cabling were on topic. That's good; I'm saying it seems we are already allowing physical cabling.

  • 1
    Would it be worth adding to to the "What topics can I ask about here?"
    – Ryan Foley
    Commented Nov 26, 2013 at 15:20
  • 1
    Definitely worth while. But first we'll wait a couple weeks to see what the community thinks. I'd like to see someone at least express some constructive criticism before we edit the "what's on-topic" page. Commented Nov 26, 2013 at 15:43
  • 4
    If we take questions about cabling / racking, I personally think we should strongly encourage a clear picture / diagram that illustrates the problem. The lack of a picture / diagram could optionally be used as justification to put on hold as "unclear what you're asking". Commented Nov 26, 2013 at 22:38

I think physical layer is clearly 'on topic'. Its right there at the beginning of the OSI model and its where most troubleshooting begins.

There are also design discussions such as top-of-rack verse middle-of-row data center designs, stack-able switches verse chassis. etc


Definitely on topic. While generic questions like UTP wiring may seem mundane, think about topics around modular patching, WDM, light switching, etc.

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