What Is a Patch Panel and Why Do We Need It?

Posted on September 5, 2018
October 26, 2020

When connecting a large number of devices to a server, switch, or other piece of networking hardware with a mass of cables, it is vital to make sure that you would manage all the cables well and plan everything out properly. Since you are not only setting things up for today, but also planning for any potential future growth, the scalability and flexibility of your cabling infrastructure need to be considered. A patch panel is an effective equipment to keep your data center or server room organized as well as make it much easier to move, add or change the cabling infrastructure in the future. What is a patch panel and why do we need it? This post will give you the answers.

What Is a Patch Panel?

A patch panel, also referred to as a patch bay, patch field or jack field, is a mounted hardware assembly that contains a set number of ports to connect and manage the incoming and outgoing fiber or copper cables. In a typical data center infrastructure, patch panels are often placed in a wiring closet to connect racks with each other. Each rack contains at least one patch panel, the back end of which is connected to the back end of the other one. Then you will need patch cords to connect servers or network switches to the ports on the front end of the patch panel in each rack.

what is a patch panel

A patch panel can provide interconnect or cross-connect patching methods to splice and terminate cables. It works by terminating cable elements and routing the signals to the final destination via the patch cords. When using patch panels, you just need to plug or unplug the corresponding patch cords to arrange circuits, thus creating flexible connections and improving efficiency greatly.

What Purpose Does a Patch Panel Serve?

The patch panel is one of the few components used in both copper and fiber cabling networks and almost all business network setups use patch panels for cabling installations. What is the point of using a patch panel for data centers or home networks? There are many advantages of using patch panels compared to attempting to run cables from each device directly into the central piece of the network hardware.

Punching down the cable to patch panels allows mechanical relief to the comparatively expensive switch ports. If the cable from the wall or ceiling were to be plugged right into a switch port, that port could be subject to pulling, pushing, etc. and it does not take much for an RJ-45 plug to lose some connectivity like that - either with the inside of a switch port or with the connection to the cable itself.
The ability to label individual cable runs in a patch panel creates a cleaner and more organized way of identifying signal flow, and troubleshooting technical problems becomes an easier chore.
It gives you flexibility and prevents the need to re-run cables or swap equipment places around if you need to change something or if something breaks.
Some businesses use structured cabling for phones or you may have multiple businesses sharing office space. In these circumstances, a patch panel would also multiple different equipment to be easily connected to any outlet.
The cables on the back of patch panels correspond to permanent jack locations in the users space, which can bring easy and accurate patch panel wiring for network newbies.

FS Fiber and Copper Patch Panel Solutions

Available in different designs, configurations or port counts, the patch panels can be customized to fit various network cabling requirements. There exist a dazzling array of patch panel options in FS.COM, covering fiber and copper patch panels for different purposes.

Standard Fiber Optic Patch Panel

The standard fiber optic patch panel in FS can be loaded with LC/SC/MTP adapters, which are commonly used as the intermediate connection between the backbone and patch cables. Our FHD fiber patch panels come with single mode and multimode fiber types with different adapter options and port counts.

Breakout Patch Panel

Breakout patch panels are specifically designed for high-density 40G-10G and 100G-25G breakout cabling. As an agile and scalable solution to mitigate cable cluster and improve airflow, breakout patch panels deliver aesthetic appealing and make the data center a more inviting place. The breakout patch panels in FS come with both single mode and multimode options.

Modular Patch Panel

There are two types of modular patch panels in FS. One is the rack mount modular fiber enclosure panel which can hold 4 FHD MTP cassettes or fiber adapter panels, fitting for both front and rear mounting in horizontal cable management. The other type of modular patch pane is the multimedia adapter panel which allows users to customize their own adapter panel. The video below demonstrates how to make your own multimedia adapter panel by using a 6-port blank modular panel.

Cat5e/Cat6 Ethernet Patch Panel

The FS Cat5e/Cat6 Ethernet patch panel or network patch panel is designed for both shielded and unshielded copper cables like Cat5e, Cat6 and Cat6a Ethernet cables. The Cat5e/Cat6 Ethernet patch panels come with the feed-through and punch-down designs. This video below teaches you how to choose a suitable Ethernet patch panel for your network cabling system.


It is without a doubt that the patch panel is indispensable for nice cable management in network cabling systems. The patch panel is a perfect mix of density and flexibility which can organize the cables properly and route them into the network devices seamlessly. The patch panels in FS are quite easy to label and manage with superior performance. They work in conjunction with our enclosures, racks, and cable managers to help you build a more scalable and easily adaptable high-density network cabling system. What is a patch panel and why do we need it? Hope this blog helps.

Related Article: How to Install Patch Panel and Switch?Best Patch Panel Cable Management Techniques