Patch Panel Buying Guide

Patch Panel Buying Guide
Posted in: Articles
patch panel with copper cablespatch panel with copper cables
May 2022 3 min read

Patch Panel Buying Guide

Before you're ready to choose a patch panel, you'll need to determine your requirements. How many connections does your patch panel need to support? Is a twisted pair, fibre optic, or coaxial panel required — or perhaps one that can perform all three?

That might seem like a lot of questions, but they're important ones that will help you choose the best patch panel for your business or home project today and in the future.

What is a Patch Panel?

Patch originated in telephone or rather radio studios, where backup equipment could be patched in rapidly if something went wrong using patch wires and patch panels similar to the ones used in telephone control panels. Although modern patch panels do not function in the same way as older patch panels, they serve the same general purpose and have a similar appearance.

A modern patch panel functions similarly to a network switch, but instead of being a standalone device with internal networking gear, it only acts as a conduit for cables to connect to other connections and networks. They're frequently utilised to manage cable runs from the active equipment to the wall outlet.

Patch Panel Connection Types

The sort of connectors you require is the very first consideration when purchasing a patch panel. If you want unshielded twisted RJ45 Ethernet connections, you should look for patch panels that include those connectors as standard. If you desire a variety of connection possibilities, modular options are a possibility, but for the most part, a single patch panel type is recommended.

Patch Panel Performance

The next step is to determine which cable types your patch panel supports and what level of performance you require from your connected computers. Optical fibre patch panels can accommodate a variety of fibre optic cables, ranging from OM1 to OM5. Before purchasing a patch panel, check the connector type you currently use in your fibre optic network to ensure that whichever patch panel you buy has the same connector type.

Patch Panel Capacity

There are a variety of patch panel styles to choose from, but the connector type is critical for determining density (e.g., a 24 port SC connector patch panel can become a 48 port LC duplex patch panel). Patch panels are always measured in rack units (RU). Patch panels are typically available in 1 RU, 2 RU, 3 RU or 4 RU.

Patch Panel Features

Not all patch panels are created equal. When selecting a patch panel, other considerations include the colour, front and rear cable management, labelling and protection for your patch cables.

Summing Up

Patch panels can help you better manage your network by making it easier to organise your patch cords and cable connections. Patch panels also allow you to reconfigure the devices connected to any network.

MSS Data Solutions supply patch panels to suit wide variety of connector types. Shop our range online or contact us on 1800 328 200 for assistance with selecting the right patch panel for your application.

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