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The setup
I've got a metal desk (actually a workbench) on which I have my computer, monitor, cable modem, a WiFi router, and some other devices. Rather than drill holes for hooks, I was thinking of getting some magnetic hooks to use along the back of the desk for cable management. Something like this: https://www.amazon.com/Magnetic-%EF%BC%ADaximum-Neodymium-Corrosion-Protection/dp/B0787Q54M1/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=magnetic+hooks&sr=8-4 One set of hooks for power cables, the other for USB and Ethernet so data is separated from power. Right now all the cables are on the floor behind the desk.

Concerns
I am not at all familiar with electronics. The Ethernet and USB cables I have do not have any special shielding (the Ethernet cables are UTP). At the moment they are all on the floor, so they could potentially interfere with each other but I haven't noticed anything so far. The concern I have now is if I have them grouped together and then potentially running through magnetic fields from the hooks. Same thing for the power cables (I'm using surge suppressors for all power).

Am I being overly cautious/paranoid, or are there precautions I actually should take? Is using magnetic hooks for cable management okay?

Research
I saw Running network cable near X-Ray equipment and this gives me hope, however magnetic fields and X-rays are not quite the same thing so I want to confirm my setup would be okay. Internet searching hasn't turned up anything that really applies to my situation, so I don't want to make false assumptions.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ the magnetic fields would be concentrated at the hook bases ... or use these duckduckgo.com/… \$\endgroup\$
    – jsotola
    Nov 6 '20 at 20:18
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SM, welcome to the site. The magnetically attached hooks are a clever idea for routing your cables and keeping them off the floor, and the static (i.e. steady) magnetic field will not have any effect on the signals passing through your cables. And you already seem aware that it's wise to separate power cables from Ethernet and USB. But here are some general principles I use when routing cables:

I like to categorize my cables into 2 groups:

Group A. Potentially noisy emitters. I'd include cables that carry high currents (AC power cords, speaker wires) or spikes (motors, steppers, relay coils, solenoids and such, even if DC powered).

Group B. Potentially noise sensitive. I'd include cables that carry low level signals (microphones, audio, video, analog sensor signals, antenna cables). I might include the coax to your cable modem in this category. Cables that are well shielded (like coax) or twisted pairs (e.g. ethernet) are less sensitive and radiate less noise than unshielded.

If you have a long cable run, it's best to keep these groups separated. A short run, or a crossover, is less likely to cause a problem.

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Don’t worry about it. The magnetic fields will be relatively small and would only generate a voltage if the wires move relative to the magnetic fields. Furthermore, Ethernet uses balanced pairs of lines and so any external fields should cancel out.

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