This one could probably be filed under 'unnecessary' or maybe just 'dumb' but I did it anyway. Initially, I was very proud of myself for having all of the home's low-voltage wiring pulled into a couple of structured wiring enclosures and terminated into a patch panel. It worked great and made management of things a lot easier (see my earlier post on this topic).
However, after a few years, I started to outgrow the small enclosure. Between the patch panel itself, and the rather large switch I had installed, there wasn't really that much room for 'patching' This was compounded by the fact that I had since pulled several additional lengths of Cat6 into the enclosure for various reasons, and since the patch panel was full they were just pulled into the enclosure and plugged into the switch. All in all it was a little unwieldy.
Now, I had a great experience with utilizing a rack for a lot of the A/V equipment, and considered moving some of the network stuff to that rack, but it was too far for the existing wiring to reach to, and was also a bit too full to add that much stuff (not to mention set up facing the inside of the media room). So I eventually came around to the idea that I would be best off with replacing the structured wiring enclosures with a dedicated rack. It would provide a lot more storage space and allow things to be much better organized. Plus, with large patch panels, any new Cat6 cables I ran could be neatly added into the patch panel.
I'm not kidding myself here - I am well aware that this is overkill. That being said, it is a much, much neater solution, some of this is kind of a hobby for me anyway, so I bit the bullet and did it.
It's not like it wasn't scary. though. I pulled all of the equipment out, unmounted the patch panels and then labelled and cut all of the wires out of the back and removed the enclosures. Since I was taking things apart anyway, I decided to properly organize the way the wires dropped into the wall. In my initial post about trimming out the pre-wire, I mentioned how the wires didn't come through the two holes in the top plate in any type of logical order, which made it difficult to put them into the patch panel in an organized fashion. With everything apart, this seemed as good a time as any to untangle and organize, so I went up in the attic, pulled the wires out of the top plate, and put them back in in a much more logical order. Then I bundled them up nice and neat while I had some pros come in and replace the sheetrock where the structured enclosures originally were.
Then it was time to start putting it all back together. I cut some holes to pull the wires back out of the walls. Then I put the new rack together, bolted it to the floor, and started the long process of re-terminating all of the cables into the patch panels for a very neat and organized setup. After that was done it was easy to mount all of the equipment into the rack. The switches I had came with rack-mounting hardware, and the things that didn't were easily fitted to a shelf.
Now that everything is moved into a rack, adding new things or moving things around is much easier - even when I need to run a new wire and add it to the panel. One downside is that when I had the nice organized structured wiring panels, I kind of liked to show them off, now with the second rack I'm more embarrassed to show people the setup because it's kind of overkill.