In the data center, copper patch panel is an ideal method to create a flexible, reliable and tidy cabling system. Today, various types copper patch panels can be found in the market, such as shielded or unshielded, flat or angled, etc. So how to select the most suitable one for your applications? This article will guide you to make the right decision.
What Is Copper Patch Panel?
A copper patch panel is used in a local area network (LAN) as a mounted hardware assembly that contains ports to connect and manage incoming and outgoing Ethernet cables. The patch panels apply copper patch cords to create interconnection. Copper patch panels are designed for both shielded and unshielded copper cables like Cat 5e, Cat 6, Cat 6a and Cat7. And the configurations can be different from numbers of ports, such as 12-port, 24-port, 48-port, 96-port.
Copper Patch Panel Types
Shielded vs. Unshielded
There are shielded and unshielded copper cables. Thus, shielded and unshielded patch panels are required to match with cable applications. However, some may forget to consider this factor before buying a suitable patch panel. So you may wonder if it’s ok to use shielded cable with an unshielded patch panel.
It’s known that shielded patch panels are designed for high EMI (Electro Magnetic Interference) environments, where interference is a risk. These patch panels can protect your high speed network from noise and EMI especially when the copper cables run near power cables.
Whether you can use unshielded patch panel for shielded cable, it depends on the environment in which your cable will run through. If the place has no high power electrical wires, you can go with unshielded patch panel. However, if you are in a noisy environment like using arc welders or near high power radio transmitters, then you should better select shielded. One more suggestion is that you may also consider the network speed. Both shielded and unshielded are ok for 1G while only shielded is proper for 10G network.
Flat vs. Angled
Copper patch panels include flat and angled types from appearance design. Flat patch panels help horizontal cable managers to organize and route cables into vertical managers. Angled patch panels are easy for cable termination and can improve patch cord routing. They serve as alternatives for management that need no rack space for horizontal management. The angled design increases rack density, managing high-density applications in one-fourth the area needed for conventional cable management systems. But angled panels are not good for cabinet installation due to the front depth requirements.
Common vs. High Density
Common patch panels are always designed in 8 or 12-port configurations. While high density patch panels are available in flat and angled designs with 24 or 48 ports configurations. High density patch panel is suitable for installations with limited space. It’s a good choice for small home and office networks. High-density patch panel is specially designed for fast Ethernet applications and conserves rack space. So space is the first factor to be considered for making the decision between common and high density patch panels.
Since there are so many types of copper patch panels in the market, choosing a suitable one is necessary for easy cable management. The above content has given a brief introduction of several common types. Hope it can help you make a choice when you prepare to buy patch panels.