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Creating a LAN network at work

Discussion in 'Networking' started by SwitchNow, Nov 8, 2019.

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  1. SwitchNow

    SwitchNow Thread Starter

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    Hi, there so I'm helping out at a small company and am creating a LAN network, already completing some of the cablings and have learned all that. We ordered everything that a networking company suggested and I've got my head around most of it but included was a 24 port cat5e patch panel for 19" rack enclosure. We also ordered a Switch and I'm unsure how to wire from the switch to these patch panels, the switch itself has 24 ports but from what I can see the panel requires 24 cables to be wired into it for the panel to even be used.

    I apologize if the explanation is bad or wrongly worded, I am a novice at this and am learning on the job so to speak. Any and all help would be welcome
     
  2. TerryNet

    TerryNet Moderator

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    The best help you can provide at this time is to advise the company to get somebody who already knows what they are doing. This sounds like a pretty simple job for a professional.

    Learn the craft before taking on a job such as this.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
  3. SwitchNow

    SwitchNow Thread Starter

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    The company im helping doesn't have the funding to hire the networking guys. And since I have I.T experience they asked me to help in this as well and I've been able to everything else just I'm not as sure about networking so thought id ask on a few of these forum sites.
     
  4. zx10guy

    zx10guy Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    Patch panels are used extensively in data center, server rooms, and wiring closets. It allows easy patching in of connectivity to specific network drops. You are correct that you have to wire in/connect ports on the patch panel to ports on the switch. You do this with patch cables which are cables terminated at a specific length with RJ45 male plugs on both ends.

    I don't know how many network drops you have to punch down into the patch panel. I hope you labeled them at the cable and the patch panel as to where the drops go. I also don't know if you ran the cables yourself, what type of cable you used (Cat5, 5e, 6, or 6a), and what wiring standard you used to punch down the cable ends; whether it was T568A or T568B. From the sounds of things, you've never done much networking and probably don't have experience punching down network cabling. If you don't know already, you need to ensure you maintain the cabling twists for each of the internal cable pairs as close as possible to the termination/punched down ends.
     
  5. SwitchNow

    SwitchNow Thread Starter

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    So far what I've done is measured and wired the cables with T568B as that's what most places and most cables come in so I thought it best to use that using Cat5e. None of it has been placed down yet so its all in preparation to create the network. I've gotten very used to wiring the cable by now and how the cable works. I've been able to work out and learn a lot to do with it, the trouble I'm having is with the Patch panel
     
  6. zx10guy

    zx10guy Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    If you're laying down new cable, you should have used at least Cat6 if not 6a. Cat 6 will support 10Gbit for runs up to about 55 meters. 6a will support 10Gbit to the full 100 meter spec. If you haven't used any of the Cat5e, I would return it and get Cat6 or 6a.

    What troubles are you having with the patch panel? Since you know about the T568B, you just punch down the cable on the back side of the patch panel to that wiring standard. I hope you have a good punch down tool. I bought a Monoprice one which does a fine job for not so much money.

    How do you intend on mounting the switch and the patch panel? Do you have a wall mounted rack? Is the switch you have rack mountable? Is the switch a regular dumb switch or a managed switch?
     
  7. zx10guy

    zx10guy Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    One more thing. When you cut the cabling to wire up to the patch panel, make sure you leave enough slack called a service loop. If you cut the cabling to the exact length, you'll be setting whoever up that has to administer the network with future problems. If there are issues with the cable end/termination, things need to be moved etc, not having the service loop slack will eliminate options.
     
  8. SwitchNow

    SwitchNow Thread Starter

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    Cat6 was too much over our budget and what Cat5e does it plenty for what we will be doing. Its a managed switch with 24 ports, we have a cabinet fitted that will hold the switch and the panels, what I'm not quite understanding is that the switch has 24 slots but the patch panel requires 24 wires into it to work as an extension to the switch, I apologize if my wording is confusing.

    I've been sure to leave extra slack in each of the measurements of cable
     
  9. zx10guy

    zx10guy Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    I find it hard to believe your budget is so tight you couldn't make the move to Cat6. Labor costs is always more expensive than the actual cable. If Cat 6 was done now, they wouldn't have to worry about it many many years to come. If the budget is that tight, I would have opted to get an unmanaged switch and used the savings to buy the appropriate cabling.

    The patch panel is just a termination point for all your cabling. You don't have to punch down all 24 ports if you don't have the need for it. It provides a durable sturdy termination setup for cabling. If all your cables were terminated into RJ45 male ends, you run the risk of breaking the tab on the connector or having flex failures at the connector/cabling junction. If this happens, you have to cut the end off and re-terminate which becomes a hassle and reduces that cable's length.

    The other thing the patch panel allows you to do is change the purpose of any given port. I have drops in my home wired to a patch panel. For the most part all the ports are connected into my switch. But there are some ports I've patched over into my POTS/phone/land line patch panel. So by just using a patch cable to connect the two sides together, that port I have in my office is now a phone line. I did this for the 2 port drop on the wall next to my multi function printer. One port is for LAN connectivity and the other port connects to the FAX part of the printer.
     
  10. SwitchNow

    SwitchNow Thread Starter

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    So for what we need would it be better to sell the patch panels and get a 16 port switch to give us more ports?

    The Switch we have.

    NETGEAR FS728TP-100EUS ProSafe 24-Port 10/100 Smart Switch with 4x Gigabit Ports / 24x PoE Ports

    The patch panels we have.

    LMS DATA PPAN-24-LC2 24 Port Cat5e Patch Panel for 19" Rack Enclosure

    A lot of the reason for the work is to future proof it all so that it isn't massive work in the future for when we grow.
     
  11. zx10guy

    zx10guy Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    First, I don't know how many network drops you need at each location in your building. Only you can determine that. The rule of thumb is always have at least 2 network drops per outlet. Once you have this count total, then you can figure out how many patch panels you need.

    So no, I'm not telling you to get rid of the patch panels. I'm telling you to return the managed switch and get an unmanaged switch to tie you all over until you have the budget and requirements to actually justify having a managed switch. Also with the money saved, get at least Cat6 for everything. You mention you want to future proof this install without the need to go back and redo it again in the future. Having your physical wiring plant built with this in mind is the very first thing you need to prioritize. Not the electronics which are easy to upgrade in the future.

    The switch you have is also a PoE switch. Do you actually have a PoE requirement?
     
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  12. SwitchNow

    SwitchNow Thread Starter

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    Yes, we have a wireless access point that can be powered with PoE, since we need to increase the wireless as we get a lot of visitors.

    The managed switch is so that they can keep on top of things when and if I'm no longer needed here. The amount of ports we need is between 30 and 40, I've never worked with patch panels before so I don't know how to wire them to the switch.

    Everything we got was what was recommended to us by a networking company, the company I work for as I said before doesn't have the money to hire them so I'm working with the items they recommended we get.
     
  13. cwwozniak

    cwwozniak Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    If you only need to power one wireless access point by PoE, it probably would be cheaper to use a non-PoE switch and use an individual PoE power injector for the feed to the wireless access point.

    A patch panel is used as a termination point for all the individual cable runs to the RJ45 (Ethernet) receptacles at the computers and wireless access point. Those cables are punched down on the backs of the patch panel receptacles. One or more patch panels are needed with one RJ45 receptacle on the patch panel for each RJ45 receptacle in the office areas. It is a good idea to have more RJ45 receptacles in the patch panels for future expansion. This is called Structure Wiring and you need to get familiar with it before installing any cables.

    Individual patch cables with RJ45 plugs on each end then connect the used patch panel receptacles to the receptacles on the switch or switches. A 24 port switch will not support 30 to 40 ports by itself and a patch panel is not used to add ports to the switch. You will either need a single switch with enough ports to support the current and expected future needs for the number of LAN connections or two or more switches joined together. Using multiple switches may be less expensive than one large switch, but it will create data bottlenecks when devices on one switch need to simultaneously exchange data with devices on the other switch.
     
  14. SwitchNow

    SwitchNow Thread Starter

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    so the networking company that suggested the items was wrong? So do we need to sell off the switch and the patch panels and get a single switch big enough? Why cant the patch panels be used as an extension for more ports?

    Thank you for your help by the way.
     
  15. zx10guy

    zx10guy Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    I don't know how to explain this further. So this is the last time I'm going to provide input as you don't want to listen to what I have to say or accept that the things you told this company to purchase is not right for what they currently need.

    The requirements I've seen so far which took a while to get from you is that there are 30 to 40 network drops and a wireless access point. There is a need for "future proofing".

    The number one thing when you're laying down a new cable plant which is what is happening here is to pick a cabling plant that won't require upgrading in the future due to how disruptive such a change would be. Not to mention the greater cost to go back in later to rip out existing infrastructure. I've told you time and time again the cabling plant should be the primary focus of this project. Installing Cat6 or Cat6a should have been on the top of the priority list.

    As I've said time and time again with additional validation from Chuck, patch panels are just physical termination points for cabling. Whether to use them or not is determined by the number of cable terminations as one of the factors. You have enough cables where the use of patch panels would be a requirement and not an option. I've explained some of the reason of why a patch panel is preferred versus just terminating the cables with RJ45 male ends in my previous post so I won't re-hash this again.

    As Chuck stated, a PoE injector could be used a a short term solution to provide power to the wireless access point. Buying a PoE switch with 24 PoE capable ports is nice for future PoE expansion support but not necessary and you're paying a ton for a switch that will only provide power to one device.

    Now that we know there will be 30 to 40 network drops, that 24 port switch will not be able to service all of those network drops. This is assuming all 30 to 40 ports will require service. We don't know this requirement. So the 24 port switch may work for now. I haven't looked at the specs on the Netgear switch but some switches allow expansion by the use of a fast high speed dedicated stacking interface which is specific to that model of switch. Stacking switches allows additional switches to be added to the stack to mimic one single switch. The problem with this is you're taking additional rack space doing this especially when you're stacking two 24 port switches that take 2 RU in space versus a single 48 port switch that takes 1 RU. You're also going to need more power jacks to power a stack. There's more points of failure. And firmware updates are a bit more complex and the entire switch stack needs to be rebooted due to the requirement all member switches in the stack must run the same firmware version. There's an option of uplinking switches using LAGs but that also has it's drawbacks.

    As I've said till I'm blue in the face, you don't need that managed switch now. Based on your experience, I doubt you even know why a managed switch would be needed. With the requirements I've seen so far, a regular unmanaged switch would work fine in this environment. Again, it's easier to upgrade hardware later versus having to look at yanking out cabling. But what do I know with my decades of networking experience building out million dollar infrastructures.
     
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