Tag Archives: admin

Snagless RJ45 connectors – How To Make Network Cables Snagless

Patch Panel

Snagless RJ45 Connectors – the Odd Request

Snagless RJ45 connectors are that odd request that my department makes from time to time. Why do you need RJ45 connectors anyway, it’s the invariable answer from supervisors, and the typical reminder: “You have all sorts of patchcords, all dimensions…” Well, first of all, we sysadmins never have all the patchcords dimensions available. The IT racks should be something that should be kept as tidy as possible, and one way is to have custom length of the patchcords.

Depending on your infrastructure, you might want or might not want to use handmade patchcords in your racks; however, in many cases this is totally acceptable. You can probably make a Cat 5 patchcord, but you won’t be able to make a Cat 6 one. In other words your hand made patchcords will be able to run at Gigabit speeds, but not at 10 Gigabit speeds, even with the proper connectors and cables. Having said that, most of the equipment in a business server room is connected into a Gigabit switch or at lower speeds, so this would not be a problem.

Custom Patchcords – Always Broken Lokcing Tabs

The major problem with all the handmade Ethernet patchcords and cables is that the locking tab is breaking. I probably don’t have to explain why broken tabs are bad; they will not be secured into the equipment’s jack, resulting in intermittent data loss, or even disconnection.

There are two reasons for the locking tabs breaking so often. Firstly, the little locking tab is very fragile, and we can’t change that, it is fragile to keep the costs down. The other reason is the design, the locking tab sticks out, and it is very easy to get snagged and broken off. All store-bought cables come with a snagless boot; it’s the standard these days. All the cables with broken locking tabs don’t have the boots, because they are terminated in place, by either a datacom tech, or an admin.

These plugs from Panduit are the best snagless RJ45 connectors.

The connectors are meant for patch cords, and they are rated as providing Category 5e performance.

The patented tangle-free plug latch prevents snags, hence breaking.

They are easy release, unlike some snagless boots, and they save time on frequent moves, adds, and changes.

The design facilitates easy insertion and termination of wires

What Is the Solution for Broken RJ45 Connectors

One of the solutions to fix the snagging network cables is to install a "snagless" boot over the cable, before crimping the connector. After crimping, just push the boot over the connector and the boot will protect the little tab.

My preferred way to fix this is to use snagless RJ45 connectors, and a boot. This ensures the plug will not break ever, unless you purposely do it. You can also use just the snagless connectors, they are very good, and I do it very often, but if I have both the snagless connectors and the snagless boots, I will use both for optimization. The snagless plugs are slightly more expensive than the regular ones, but when you draw the line, and consider the troubleshooting needed on the long term, and the fact that sooner or later those RJ45 connectors will break and will need to be replaced, the additional cost is worth paying.

Like I already mentioned before, with the low prices for commercial made patchcords, and the quality ensured by a machine made ethernet cable, there is no need to make your own, it's just not practical.

This cables are made in a commercial facility, they are tested, and they come in a variety of lengths, just choose the one that is right for you. You can even get  to choose the color, so you can color code your patch panel connections, so everything looks tidy, and easy to follow.

Email Marketing – How to Avoid being placed on Spamming Lists

Filtering unsolicited email messages or SPAM is a very important issue for everybody. Companies, Internet Service Providers and Email Providers are spending more and more resources to become effective to blocking Unsolicited Emails. They will blacklist anyone who will try to send SPAM and they will stop delivering emails from sources known as spammers.
At the same time, Internet Marketing has become an important business component for most of the Companies and Email Marketing is essential for many businesses. How can a company deliver its messages to clients and not get on spam-lists? This post will try to give you some guidance on how to avoid being placed on spam lists.

Rules to avoid being placed on Spamming Lists

User related rules

  • Check the subject line of your email. Do not leave the subject line blank, have a long string of "Re:" or "Fwd:”, or use many exclamation or question marks or use all capital letters.
  • Avoid blacklisted and spammy words in your subject line and message body. Common words blacklisted at different spam filters include pornographic terms, pharmaceutical terms, "free", "money", "mortgage", and "cash."
  • Avoid adding many attachments, using only images or including a long list of URLs in the body of your email message.
  • Reduce the number of identical emails you are sending at one time. Try sending your emails in smaller batches if you have many different people who need to receive the same email.
  • Ask your email recipients to add you to their email program address book or white-list.
  • If you suspect your computer has been infected by a virus or Trojan or any other form of Malware, contact the IT Department immediately.
  • Do not use the Company’s email for personal use. Personal use includes but is not limited to:
    • Electronic Communication for personal use
    • Chain email letters – the distribution of chain letters is strictly interdicted using the corporate email. Chain emails are emails that ask or encourage you to forward the message to other people. Chain letters can include information about new viruses most of the times – hoaxes, promises of good luck, religious messages, request for help, etc…
    • Subscribing to newsletters or email lists is not allowed using the corporate email address. By subscribing to such services, you expose your account and Your Company email server to SPAM.
  • DO NOT send Unsolicited Email.

[ad#Adsense Text 468 wide]

How to avoiding the Spam Lists for the Email Administrator

  • Use and maintain SPF policies. This will help other servers to determine any rogue sender that will try to spoof email addresses in your domain. Remember, maintaining the SPF record is mandatory. If you forget to update the SPF record when an infrastructure change, (such as a new SMTP server), is made other SMTP server will treat the new server as a possible SPAMMER and will flag legitimate email as SPAM.
  • If your Marketing Department is using a new email Marketing Company, don’t forget to update the SPF records, (if they are using your regular addresses).
  • Ideally, the Email Marketing Campaigns should be conducted under a different domain name, or a sub-domain. Example: yourcompany.com is your main domain and you are using admin@yourcompany.com as email addresses and marketing. Yourcompany.com is your Email Marketing Domain Name and your address will be admin@marketing.yourcompany.com.
  • If your users use pop clients to connect to the server make sure you configure a submit port on your server (587), or install a certificate on your server and instruct users to use SSL for sending emails. This will avoid keeping the port 25 open for email clients. This should be open to servers only.
  • Block port 25 for outbound traffic on your company’s firewall. This way even if your computers get infected with a Trojan they will not be able to send messages.
  • The use of a good Anti-Malware is mandatory.
  • Write and distribute policies in the company, this document could be a good start.

How to Avoid the Spam-Lists for the Marketing Department

  • Do not send unsolicited emails – sending an email to someone who unsubscribed or never subscribed is the most serious SPAM offense.
  • Do not use Outlook or any other email client to manage mass emailing. Marketers, sometimes, have the impression that the usage of such email clients for their campaigns, give them more control over the Mass Emailing. But in fact there is no way to manage opt-outs, you will use your own infrastructure for sending mass-emailing which is not good, and you can easily send duplicate messages to your recipients or not send at all.
  • Do not use mass-emailing solutions for your email blasts. Your public IP address will be flagged as SPAMMER.
  • For Mass Emailing, use Companies that are specialized in Email Marketing. They are setup so they minimize the risk to be flagged as SPAMMERS, the applications are feature rich, with tracking options, and give the recipients the opportunity to opt-out if they choose to.
  • If you, still want to use in house mass emailing make sure you insert an unsubscribe address in your email.
  • To make sure your email does not get in the Junk Mailbox, avoid using too many links in your email, and use as little space as possible for images.
  • Do not send too many emails at once, even if the email is perfectly conceived, sending too many emails in a short period could trigger the SPAM filters, and your email will be blocked.

Email address Spoofing – Someone is Using My address to Send Spam

Someone is Using Your Address to Send SPAM

You just got a bounce-back email saying that your email didn’t reach the destination because the recipient doesn’t exist. Nothing unusual, this is something that happens to anybody who is using email regularly; except you didn’t send that email. How could this happen? If you are an email server administrator and many of your users get this kind of bounce-back they all start to complain at once, thinking that your server has been hijacked. What can you do to stop this, and how to reassure your users that you haven’t been hijacked?

Sender Address Forgery known as email address spoofing is not a new technique. It is used for many things from spamming organizations to sending viruses and supporting scamming schemes where the sender fakes his identity.

Effective ways to stop Spammers to Use Your Domain Name

Publish SPF Data
SPF (Sender Policy Framework) is a method that allows you to publish which mail servers are authorized to send email for your domain. SPF uses a DNS record that tells email servers which servers are the servers that are trusted sources of email for the specific domain and how much to trust other sources of email originating from that domain. Destination servers might have the SPF checking implemented or not. Many of the today’s servers are SPF checking enabled.
Destination servers check this record and act in consequence. Anti-spam software on servers receiving emails, score an email based on SPF record and other criteria and accept or reject the email based on the total score. For instance if the SPF record tells that any emails originating from non authorized servers should not be trusted the email gets the necessary points to be treated as SPAM and it gets rejected. If the SPF record treats the non authorized servers neutral the message could pass or could be rejected if other it contains other SPAM characteristics.
Do not publish any email addresses on Web pages. This is the most common place for spammers to get valid email addresses and use them to forge email messages

If your company runs its own mail server configure it to ignore email sent to non-existent addresses in your domain. If your server sends a non-delivery report you reveal to a spammer valid addresses in your domain (the ones that don’t send NDRs). This attracts spam to those addresses. You waste bandwidth. The most common reason to send NDR’s for non-existent addresses is to let people know that they misspelled the address. Miss-addressed email can get lost easier.

If your domain gets blacklisted because of spoofing you have to contact the list which blacklisted you and show the Administrator what you did to correct the problem. This is very unlikely since the sender usually spoofs only the email sender and not the server’s address. A blacklist Admin should be able to figure out this.