Patch panel is undoubtedly an essential component in cabling systems as it provide a simple, neat and easy-to-manage solution. For example, if you want to wire a network system that includes multiple wall ports, patch panels will not only allow you to terminate cable elements, but the signal to be connected to the final destination. No matter how big or small your business infrastructure is, patch panel is indispensable. So what is a patch panel? What are the exact benefits of using fiber optic patch panel? This article will provide some detailed information about the benefits and challenges of them.
What Is A Patch Panel?
A patch panel is, in fact, an array of ports on one panel used to connect and manage incoming and outgoing LAN cables. The following image shows a 128 fibers MTP to LC/UPC OM4 1U 40GB QSFP+ Breakout Patch Panel. Each ports of patch panels connect fiber jumper cables to another port located elsewhere in your building. Circuits in an enterprise network can be easily rearranged by plugging and unplugging respective patch cords. Furthermore, patch panel provides a single location for all input jacks, which greatly simplifies the troubleshooting problems.
Patch panels are usually attached to network racks, either above or below network switches and take up 1U or 1.75 inches of space. Patch cords 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 (MACs). Based on different standards, there are different types of patch panels. For instance, 48-port, 24-port and 12-port patch panels divided by the number of ports, or the more specific patch panels—Cat 5E, Cat 6, Cat 6A and Cat 7 cables. Since you have a basic understanding of patch panels, let’s move on the the next part.
The advantage of using a patch panel is that it allows manual monitoring, testing, switching, routing, and other maintenance to be handled quickly because the cables in the front that connect to the more permanent cables in the back are configured and made so that changes can be made quickly and easily when needed.
With several patch panels available for sale, network users usually feel puzzled to select a patch panel solution with the features and capacity to meet their current needs, as well as the flexibility and scalability to adapt to and grow with the future needs. As noted before, patch panels can be divided into several types. According to different cable type, there are copper and fiber patch panels, which will be introduced in the next part.
Copper or Fiber Patch Panel?
A Patch panel can be connected with either fiber or copper cabling. The primary role of fiber patch panel is to direct signal at a required speed. It is the common sense that fiber is much faster than copper, and fiber patch panels are more expensive.
Structurally, copper panels have the 110-insulation displacement connector style on one side and 8-pin modular ports on the other. Wires coming into the panel are therefore 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 image shows the 48 Ports Shielded(STP) Cat6 Feed-Through 2U Gigabit Ethernet Patch Panel.