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How does a patch panel work?


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Abracaboom's Avatar
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25-Mar-2010, 05:18 AM #1
How does a patch panel work?
Hi, I've tried to find this information without any luck: A little while back I installed cat5e cables around the house and now I'm ready to use them for internet. I have 8 cables running to a closet and an 8-port patch panel with 8 punch-down connectors and 8 corresponding RJ-45 connectors.

1. If I punch down my 8 cables to my 8 connectors, are all 8 cables connected together automatically (without bridging the punch-down connectors)?

2. Can the RJ-45 connectors be used to test their corresponding punch-down connectors? What else are they for?

3. If I punch down my 8 cables and plug my internet provider's modem to any of the RJ-45 plugs, will I have internet on the other end of my 8 cables?

4. If I terminate my 8 cables with RJ-45 plugs and plug them to the patch panel, and punch down the cable coming from the modem to any of the punch-down connectors, will I have internet on the other end of my 8 cables?

Thank you, you guys are great!
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25-Mar-2010, 03:15 PM #2
A patch panel is nothing more than a plate where you have an organized layout of ports cabled to something on the other end. In NO WAY are the ports interconnected if the patch panel is wired normally. Patch panels provide a lot of flexibility in terms of allowing quick and easy connections between two points. Say you have a port in one room which you want to be connected to the LAN but later you want to make the port a POTS line. You would just plug a patch cord into the corresponding port on the patch panel and then connect the other end of the patch cord to your POTS service.

Patch panels also provide a better solution to environments where connections are changed on a frequent basis. RJ45 female jacks are less likely to wear out than male RJ45 jacks. It's easier to just replace a patch cable than to have to re-terminate a cable run from a room with another RJ45 male jack.
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26-Mar-2010, 04:30 PM #3
Thank you, zx10guy, I had assumed a patch panel was similar to a telephone hub module. Can you believe that I couldn't find such basic information when I googled about patch panels?

I think I get it now. Would someone please confirm or correct the following?

I can connect my 8 cables to a patch panel's 110 connectors, then use 8 patch cables to connect the patch panel to an ethernet switch, connect the switch to the internet provider's modem, and get internet service at the far end of my 8 cables at the same time.

I can also terminate my 8 cables with male ethernet connectors and plug them directly to the switch, connect the switch to the modem, and get internet service at the far end of my 8 cables at the same time.

I can also hard-wire 7 cables to a patch panel, hard-wire also to the same patch panel a cable coming from the modem, and use a patch cable from the modem connection's corresponding female plug to any of the cable connection's corresponding female plugs, getting internet service at one location at a time, and having to replug the patch cable every time I want to change which room gets connected.

Thank you!
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26-Mar-2010, 04:36 PM #4
Like he said, a patch panel is strictly a convenience item, it doesn't add anything. Your scenarios will work fine.
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27-Mar-2010, 01:58 AM #5
If you are connecting a switch directly to the ISP modem, you better make sure that modem is also a router.
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27-Mar-2010, 02:23 AM #6
Thanks for the feed-back, JohnWill, I'm starting to feel like I know what I'm doing.

Thanks again, zx10guy. If my ISP modem is not also a router, would I want to use a router instead of a switch between the patch panel and the modem?
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27-Mar-2010, 02:48 AM #7
About Telephone Hub Modules.
Hello folks,

Apart from the Cat5e cables for internet service I mention in another thread, I have also run around my house some Cat5 cables for telephone service, and have bought a hub for them, which came without any instructions. Here's a picture of my hub: http://www.sterenusa.com/bssd/news/N...hone%20Hub.pdf

1. The 110 connectors don't show where to connect each pair's solids and stripes; is that because with phone wires it doesn't matter?

2. What's the Cat5e hub for? To connect the hub with a patch cable to another hub and get a 12-port hub?

Thank you.
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27-Mar-2010, 03:28 AM #8
Oops, I'm not sure if I've been misleading. The product I bought and have been calling a patch panel is sold as a "data termination hub module", and here's a picture: http://www.sterenusa.com/bssd/news/N...b%20Module.pdf

The description says that it "centrally terminates data wires from 8 locations for distribution to switches, hubs or routers", which sounds like a patch panel. Can someone please let me know if there's any difference between this product and the patch panels we've been mentioning here?

Thank you!
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27-Mar-2010, 10:41 AM #9
That is indeed a patch panel of sorts. You'd punch-down the connections from the remote jacks on the bottom terminals and connect your switch/router ports to the RJ-45 jacks on the top.

What you have there is an inactive device that is just a wiring convenience, i.e. a patch panel.
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27-Mar-2010, 10:56 AM #10
I've merged the threads, please don't start multiple threads on the same topic.
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27-Mar-2010, 10:58 AM #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abracaboom View Post
Hello folks,

Apart from the Cat5e cables for internet service I mention in another thread, I have also run around my house some Cat5 cables for telephone service, and have bought a hub for them, which came without any instructions. Here's a picture of my hub: http://www.sterenusa.com/bssd/news/N...hone%20Hub.pdf

1. The 110 connectors don't show where to connect each pair's solids and stripes; is that because with phone wires it doesn't matter?

2. What's the Cat5e hub for? To connect the hub with a patch cable to another hub and get a 12-port hub?

Thank you.
Obviously, it matters where all the wires are connected. Depending on the telephone equipment, it may be picky about reversing TIP and RING, so you'll want them to be consistent. I'd look for actual data on the hub in question.
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27-Mar-2010, 10:45 PM #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abracaboom View Post
Thanks for the feed-back, JohnWill, I'm starting to feel like I know what I'm doing.

Thanks again, zx10guy. If my ISP modem is not also a router, would I want to use a router instead of a switch between the patch panel and the modem?
If your modem is not a router, it would be better to just plug the modem directly into the router. The router plugs into the switch and then each port on the patch panel to the switch.
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27-Mar-2010, 10:53 PM #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abracaboom View Post
Hello folks,

Apart from the Cat5e cables for internet service I mention in another thread, I have also run around my house some Cat5 cables for telephone service, and have bought a hub for them, which came without any instructions. Here's a picture of my hub: http://www.sterenusa.com/bssd/news/N...hone%20Hub.pdf

1. The 110 connectors don't show where to connect each pair's solids and stripes; is that because with phone wires it doesn't matter?

2. What's the Cat5e hub for? To connect the hub with a patch cable to another hub and get a 12-port hub?

Thank you.
The telecom hub you purchased is just a bridge board. It allows a single telecom connection to be split to a number of connections. As far as patches go, this is one exception where a single in equal multiple outs. The female jack on the hub indicated for a security system is nothing more than a call interrupt setup. If your security system needed to contact the central monitoring station, the board allows the security system to interrupt any call in progress to give it free access to your phone line.

As far as your cabling, you could have just used all Cat5e. It's easier to just standardize on a single cable type. Wiring the setup for the phone hub is the same as punching down a network patch panel. Just follow a single standard...either T568A or T568B. By convention for POTS lines, the center pair is used for the first line. If you have a second line, the next outer set of wires...(3 and 6) are used. It's no accident that the wiring setup is compatible for both LAN and POTS. This allows the same cable infrastructure for both network and phones. You can even plug in a RJ11 connector into an RJ45 jack and get POTS service as long as that jack is patched on the other end into the POTS system.
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27-Mar-2010, 11:58 PM #14
Thanks again, JohnWill. I hadn't noticed until you prodded me to look more carefully that one of the 110 connectors in my telephone hub has the top notch for each color marked "R" and the bottom one marked "T". Does one translate to "solid" and the other to "striped"?
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28-Mar-2010, 12:11 AM #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by zx10guy View Post
If your modem is not a router, it would be better to just plug the modem directly into the router. The router plugs into the switch and then each port on the patch panel to the switch.
Thanks again, zx10guy. Modem to router to switch to patch panel? That's a hell of a network conga! I thought that a router works like a switch, only with more brains. Since I want to send the same internet signal to all my cables at the same time, why would I need not only a router, but a router plus a switch? (I apologize if that's a stupid question.)
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