Patch panels are mounted hardware assemblies that contain ports used to connect and manage incoming and outgoing LAN cables. They are usually attached to network racks, either above or below network switches. Patch cables connect the ports in the patch panel to ports in the network switch, which creates permanent port connections to the switch that won’t be interrupted during moves, adds and changes. This post will tell some information about patch panels.
The primary benefit of using patch panels is improved organization and easier management of your wired network. It is easy to get to all your cables and terminations if using a front-access patch panel which works especially well in tight spaces. Besides, troubleshooting problems is simplified with patch panels because they provide a single location for all input jacks. They are frequently used in industries that require extensive sound equipment since they work well for connecting a variety of devices. For businesses, patch panels are around found in areas that house telecommunications equipment and they play a central role in network functionality. By centralizing cables in one place, patch panels make it easy for network administrators to move, add or change complex network architectures. It is a smart way to use patch panels to quickly transfer communications lines from office to another.
As patch panels allow easy management of cables, it makes sense to choose patch panels carefully. There are fiber patch panels and copper patch panels. What should you know when choosing one over the other? Patch panels can be used in fiber and copper cabling system. So is there a difference between these two types of cables as far as performance is concerned? Many professionals don’t see any differences. But others believe that the fiber patch panels are better, even though they are more expensive than their copper counterpart.
Structurally, copper patch panels have the 110-insulation displacement connector style on one side and 8-pin modular ports on the other. Therefore, wires coming into the panel are terminated to the insulation displacement connector. On the opposite side, the 8-pin modular connector plugs into the port which corresponds to the terminated wires. With the copper panel, each pair of wires has an independent port. The following picture is a 24-port cat5e patch panel.
Fiber patch panels require two ports for a pair of wires. One port serves the transmitting end while the other handles the receiving end. Fiber patch panels tend to be faster than copper patch panel, but this does not downplay the role played by the latter. The main function of a patch panel is to direct signal traffic and not to move the signal at a particular speed. In all, both types of patch panels must perform according to the same TIA/EIA standards that are needed to produce speed and signal performance for the rest of the cabling network. The following picture is a 160-fiber HD patch panel.
If you can wire an Ethernet jack, you can wire a patch panel. You’ll simply need to repeat the sequence multiple times for your various ports. While it is relatively easy to install patch panels, professionalism is required. Sometimes terminations are tight, which makes cable management difficult. A particular technique is required to make the installation easy and the entire system effective. When installing fiber panels, extra caution is needed. If the glass is excessively moved during installation, it may affect the signal in adjacent fibers. During the installation of fiber optic cables to the panel, bend radius should be taken into account. For ultimate functionality, buy flexible patch panels which have cable management bars. Consider the labeling, precisely on the face panel because this is equally important.
Patch panels are highly functional systems, and will not at any point stand in the way of modifying your office or business design. However, you need a basic understanding of patch panels when installing one. FS.COM provides various types of patch panels which can suit most of your network demands perfectly. The following table lists our high-performance copper patch panels.
|Cat5e Patch Panels||Description||Cat6 Patch Panels||Description|
|24 Ports, Cat5e, Feed Through Patch Panel, UTP Unshielded||24 Ports, Cat6, Feed Through Patch Panel, UTP Unshielded|
|24 Ports, Cat5e, Feed Through Patch Panel, Shielded||24 Ports, Cat6, Feed Through Patch Panel, Shielded|
|24 Ports, Cat5e, UTP Unshielded, 110 Punch Down Fast Ethernet Panel||48 Ports, Cat6, Feed Through Patch Panel, UTP Unshielded|
|48 Ports, Cat5e, Feed Through Patch Panel, UTP Unshielded||48 Ports, Cat6, Feed Through Patch Panel, Shielded|