4 Reasons Why Ethernet Patch Panels Are So Popular
Posted by Steve Bowman on Mar 29th 2023
As more and more organizations develop high-density cabling installations, the popularity of Ethernet patch panels continues to grow. In fact, they have become the cornerstone of a well-tuned data center. They provide a method to the madness of incoming and outgoing networking cables, make troubleshooting easier and less time-consuming, and facilitate future growth of a network. All that and they’re inexpensive to boot.
This blog post explains what patch panels do and lists four reasons they have become so popular.
A Patch Panel’s Purpose
An Ethernet patch panel is an arrangement of ports that can be mounted either horizontally to a standard, 19-inch-wide rack or vertically to a wall. They allow you to bundle and connect multiple ports for incoming and outgoing copper lines. They’re a great way to centralize telecommunications and data equipment in communications closets, central offices and data centers.
In most data centers a patch panel is installed on a rack in a communications closet to connect racks to one another. On the front face of the panel, Ethernet patch cables connect to servers and network switches. In the rear of the patch panel, bare wires are punched down to and from other patch panels.
Patch panels are commonly used in local area networks (LANs) because of how easily they allow you to connect computers to one another, or to outside lines for internet access. To create and arrange circuits, you only need to plug or unplug correlating patch cables.
Now for four of the main reasons why so many patch panels are in use.
Patch Panels Come in Your Size
NavePoint’s patch panels have your choice of 12, 24 or 48 ports and take up no more than 1U or 2U of rack space. This range both accommodates smaller networks and allows for future scalability and growth. You can easily add new devices to the network without having to run an entirely new cable to both ends. Vertically mounted patch panels are great for smaller installations with 12 ports or less, while horizontally mounted patch panels can house 24 ports for a 1U unit and 48 ports for a 2U unit.
We offer panels dedicated to Cat5e or Cat6 UTP cables. In addition, our modular and blank keystone patch panels allow use of Cat3, Cat5, Cat6 and Cat6a snap-in/keystone jacks for flexibility in combining Ethernet, audio and video.
Patch Panels Tame the Tangle
A patch panel provides a simple organization and management solution when dealing with an array of patch cables that can easily become tangled or mismatched. Labeling each run in a patch panel allows for easy identification and troubleshooting down the line. NavePoint’s patch panels feature, above each port, a plastic holder for a handwritten or printed label so you can quickly identify the purpose of the port.
A not-so-hidden benefit of a well-organized cable installation is that it simply looks more professional. It is a subtle reminder to employees, and perhaps to any visiting clients, that your organization is well organized and takes pride in every aspect of its work.
Patch Panels Simplify Network Maintenance
If a cable connected to a patch panel goes bad, you can easily change out the cable without needing to re-run cables or relocate equipment. Also, because creating nodes (connection points) shortens each cable run, running maintenance tasks like testing cables or ports can be done more quickly.
Patch Panels Are Easy to Customize
You can buy blank Keystone-style patch panels and compatible inserts for custom patch panels. You are then able to mix and match between RJ-45, RJ-12, fiber, and A/V inserts like HDMI and F-type jacks.
For keystone/modular blank patch panel setups, you can combine audio, video or Ethernet inputs onto one patch panel for functional flexibility. Also, if one of the ports is broken, you can replace the keystone instead of replacing an entire PCB patch panel.
An Ethernet patch panel is a useful way to centralize telecommunications and data equipment connections. Its array of ports on one labeled, easy-to-see panel simplifies a network’s maintenance and future upgrades. It also lets you connect one network to another, whether LAN, WAN or internet. For more about horizontal vs. vertical patch panels, shielded vs. unshielded, and Cat5e vs. Cat6, see this NavePoint blog post.
NavePoint’s Ethernet patch panels are in-stock and available with FREE standard same-day shipping.
If you have product questions or need recommendations, contact our U.S.-based team of experts at 1-866-312-5401 or email us.