Patch Panels

I'm currently studying for my Network+ Certification exam and I came across patch panels in my reading and I understand that they provide a safe place for all the cables, organization, as well as providing flexibility. But my reading was vague on the connection provided by the patch cables from the panel to the hub. Does each connection to the patch panel need its own patch cable to the hub, and if so, why would one want to even bother with a patch panel if every thing needs to connect to a hub anyways? Also, can a network opperate through a patch panel with out the use of a hub, switch, etc...? I assume not, but just in case. If anywould would be willing to explain this patch panel stuff to me that would be great.



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The theory of patch panels is that you can have many jacks and less hub/switch ports. It may not matter a whole lot in today's $130 for

24 port unmanaged switches, but in the "old days" or in managed hubs/switches it mattered a lot.

I always tell a customer that "cable is cheap". Decorate a room with

3 or 4 network locations and you don't care where the user sits. He only might need a single port on a switch but he might have 8 jacks in his room. When it comes time to rearrange his space, he just moves the computer to the new jack and moves the corresponding patch cord in the computer room.

Carl Navarro

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Carl Navarro


We're getting ready to populate our new bldg with over 680 data drops (if the contractor gets thru with installing them before xmas! Doesn't look like it). Man, boxes and boxes of patch cables taking up space in the corner of the server room. Anyway, they're all imported cables, cat6, with the two-part connectors. It's enough hassle to crimp the regular one piece connectors, I don't know what it's like for the two-part ones. With ever more critical specs for the cabling system, it's really not worth doing your own patch cords. They're only a few bucks at the local electronics store, or get them online for even cheaper on Ebay or Gruber industries or whatever.

If the store wants more than a few dollars for a short patch cord, take your business elsewhere. I've noticed that some stores get you into the store with a sale, then gouge you with the extras such as USB cables, power strips, speaker cables, etc. Their markup is literally a thousand percent. They want $26 to $31 for a 6 foot USB cord, when you can get them for $3 on Ebay, or $6 at Fry's. And don't get suckered into those extended warranties either. For the store, those are a license to steal your money. KABC had a good piece on extended warranties a day or so ago, but I went here,

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a control F, and typed in warrant, and it found the article, but when I clicked on it, it gave URL not found. Maybe you'll have better luck later. A lot of other good articles there, too, like the one about the cell phone batteries catching on fire(!)

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Watson A.Name - "Watt Sun, th

Yes, 1 cable = 1 connection. The reason the patch panel is there is that you can use your cabling for more that just Ethernet. If the system is designed properly, you can easily switch between Ethernet, digital or analog phone or fax, CCTV camera and other devices, provided by you connect to proper equipment in the closet. The patch panel gives you ability to move your cable's connection between different devices and not only Ethernet hubs or switches. One other important use of the patch panel is elimination of crimping (when you?d directly crimp your RJ45 jacks on the end of the cable). Crimping is a very error-prone and inefficient (time wise) installation procedure, and the use of the patch panel makes the installation a lot easier.

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Speaking of crimping ends...LOL

Went out to a school district today that uses nothing but crimped ends HAHA no patch panel at all. Surprisingly no problems.

I told them thats not the right way to do it. Their "computer guys" told them to do it that way...

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In office and control room installations the best bet seems to be to use female/female patch panels and then use pre-made patch cords for both the switch/hub connection and for the horizontal section. This allows one to go directly to the end device or wall outlet with a tested, certified cable obviating the need for on-site certification. For industrial plant installations, it is probably best to use a pre-made patch cord to go directly from the switch/hub to the end device. So many connections in the way with the traditional patch panel in the route degrade network (connector) reliability and complicate documentation, testing, tagging, and maintenance troubleshooting.

kowski" wrote >

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