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What is Speed Cabling?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 02 October 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2017
    Conjecture Corporation
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Speed cabling is a competitive sport in which participants untangle bundles of Cat-5 Ethernet cable. The contestant who untangles all of his or her cables from the bundle first is the winner of the event. As one might imagine, speed cabling tends to be dominated by computer professionals who have detangling skills thanks to years on the job, and some people point out that this Ethernet detangling sport is dominated by members of the geek community.

This sporting event was developed by Steven Schkolne, a Los Angeles-based artist. The rules of speed cabling are quite specific, designed to ensure that the bundles are uniform so that contestants can be equally judged. Contestants can detangle either six or 12 pieces of cable of varying lengths, which must be tangled by a “certified bundler” who has perfected the tangling technique. The bundle of wires is even run through a dryer before competition to encourage more matting and tangling.

The bundles of cables are placed on tables at waist height, and competitors can use whatever untangling methods they like to extract cables from the matted mass. As a cable is freed, the competitor must hold it up clearly, allowing the judges to see the cable before dropping it on the floor and moving to free another one. By holding the cables up to illustrate successful untanglement, the speed cablers can ensure that the judges clearly see and note their performance.

A speed cabler can use a variety of techniques to get cables out of the mass, with some choosing to focus on removing specific cables, while others work on a more general detangling scheme to free their bundles. Speed is of the essence, as are sure and limber fingers and an eye to detail and the patterns which the knots and tangles in the bundle have formed. Many skilled speed cablers get practice on the job, working with snarled cables in a wide variety of situations.

Many computer professionals use a variety of techniques to keep their cables well organized, ensuring that they are easy to manipulate and find in a hurry. However, even the best organized cables have a remarkable knack for tangling themselves, making speed cabling a very useful skill in addition to an entertaining sport. To find a speed cabling meet in your area, you can search for “speed cabling” and your region with your favorite search engine.

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