Patch panels route electrical and networking cables to specific locations within a building so that they can be connected to and used by multiple devices. They’re usually mounted on the wall, and you can use them to route cables from different sources to different destinations.
We have discussed ethernet networks before. They are used to connect different devices in a house or business to the internet. Some people use a wireless WiFi network as an alternative as it is easier to install and use. Ethernet cables provide faster speeds though and this can be needed for some applications such as gaming, HD video calling or uploading of big files.
You can use patch panels to run cables from different sources to different destinations. For example, if you have a router, a computer, and a printer all connected to the same network, you would use a patch panel to route the network cables to the appropriate places.
Patch panels make sure that the cable is secured tightly. It also allows you to add labels to the cables and makes it easier to manage the installation. Some companies have a lot of cables and a patch panel can make it manageable.
Let’s take a look at the types of patch panels and their uses.
What does a patch panel look like in a home network?
Patch panels in a home network are typically made out of metal. They are generally black and grey. They fit in a network rack and can be stacked on top of each other. Some data centers have thousands of patch panels. Patch panels are strong and can last several decades before they have to be replaced. They range in price from 30 USD to several hundreds of dollars.
Most types of patch panels are designed for industrial applications where a high number of patch panels are required to run cable. They generally have a large number of individual Ethernet ports, each with a cover that contains RJ-45 or 8P8C plugs. Patch panels are generally not needed for residential or small business applications, as it requires a much higher number of individual ports.
The primary reason to use a patch panel is to route multiple cables to multiple destinations with a single cable. If you have multiple devices that need to be connected to a network, a patch panel can be used to connect multiple cables together.
For example, if you have an Ethernet wall outlet in the basement, but you want to run an Ethernet cable upstairs, you can use a patch panel to connect the two Ethernet outlets together.
Patch panel types
There are many different types of patch panels. Let’s take a look at the most common types. The biggest difference is their size and how many cables that they support. There are a lot of types so let’s take a look at some examples below:
A duplex patch panel has two connections on the back of the panel, one for each cable. This means that it can support up to four cables at a time.
A duplex patch panel is often used to connect offices with different network requirements. If one office has a lot of devices that need to be connected to the network, while the other office only has a few devices, a duplex patch panel is used to run both types of cables through one panel.
A tandem patch panel has three connections on the back of the panel, one for each cable. The main advantage of a tandem patch panel is that it has more total ports than a regular panel. This makes it ideal for larger businesses or for use with mission-critical devices.
Network engineers use patch panels as they make it easy to identify problems. If there is a broken cable, they can locate and replace it in an instant if they are properly installed. If one cable breaks in a complex installation, it can be a hassle to find it if there is no proper infrastructure for the cables. This can lead to a lot of problems as it can take days or even weeks to find the right cable.
Companies have realized the importance of network management and are willing to invest a lot into it. If there are problems with the company network, it can stop the operations of a business and cause a lot of damage.
The main disadvantage of patch panels is that they take up some space. You might be able to distribute the connections over a home. This will be more cluttered but can make it easier to hide the connections. In most professional settings patch panels are essential as they would become unmanageable. Companies often have dedicated network rooms so they have enough space to install the ethernet connections.
In summary, patch panels are used to route electrical and networking cables to specific locations within a building, so that they can be connected to and used by multiple devices. They’re usually mounted on the wall, and you can use them to route cables from different sources to different destinations.
You can use patch panels to run cables from different sources to different destinations. For example, if you have a router, a computer, and a printer all connected to the same network, you would use a patch panel to route the network cables to the appropriate places. This is commonly used by larger companies but can be used for more advanced home networks as well. People want to connect more and more devices to the internet.
While WiFi does a good job, sometimes you want to get the fastest speed. An ethernet cable is then needed. This can lead to a complex installation and a patch panel can help you to get things installed properly. We can expect that this will remain important for several decades as companies need high-speed internet access for a lot of devices. Network engineers have to be able to install of this in an orderly manner.
Patch panels are often used in ethernet installations. In some datacenters, ethernet installations can be quite complex. Having the right setup is essential. This includes both switches and splitters.