Understanding what a patch panel does...

p11

n00b
Joined
Sep 30, 2012
Messages
63
Hey guys,

So my question is, does a patch panel essentially take all incoming connections and make them connectable via 1 wire? Is it basically a unmanaged switch?

Thanks in advance.
 

p11

n00b
Joined
Sep 30, 2012
Messages
63
Is there any particular reason the wires aren't terminated individually and then plugged directly into a switch?
 

Oldie

Mean Old Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 12, 2004
Messages
21,889
You can go that route but patch panels can improve aesthetics and make it easier to manage. If it's a small setup though there really isn't any reason you can't.
 

p11

n00b
Joined
Sep 30, 2012
Messages
63
You can go that route but patch panels can improve aesthetics and make it easier to manage. If it's a small setup though there really isn't any reason you can't.

kool, thanks! It just didn't make sense to me, probably because I'm thinking about smaller jobs but I'd rather have less breaks in the wire....smaller chance to encounter any issues.
 

Jay_2

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 20, 2006
Messages
3,583
The CAT5 cable used for structured cables isn't designed to have an RJ45 on the end either.
 

MrGuvernment

Fully [H]
Joined
Aug 3, 2004
Messages
20,303
shouldnt have issue if a panel is properly patched anyways, otherwise data centers would have huge problems..

cabling.jpg



they make things much cleaner when using racks and easier to manage
 

Jay_2

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 20, 2006
Messages
3,583
Yes CAT5e cable used for structured cables isn't designed for RJ45 termination either.
 

p11

n00b
Joined
Sep 30, 2012
Messages
63
Sorry but I have to ask, why exactly is it not designed for rj45 termination?
 

Grentz

Fully [H]
Joined
May 5, 2006
Messages
17,198
Solid CAT5 / CAT5e

I'm sorry but that just isnt true.

Solid or Stranded Wire is fine for RJ45 termination. The problem comes into play when you try and punch down stranded wire...that can be a real mess.

The main reason to use patch panels is so that you can easily reconfigure networks and not touch the building's wiring. You have the patch panel on one end, wall jack on the other.
 

Jay_2

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 20, 2006
Messages
3,583
Not really but for running through walls it's always best to use solid but for home its not really a massive issue it stranded is used.
 

Grentz

Fully [H]
Joined
May 5, 2006
Messages
17,198
Got it, this type of cable wouldn't normally be installed in homes or condominiums I assume?

Actually it is usually the standard, except for patch cables that are usually stranded.

You are just fine to use RJ45 terminators on it.

Solid can do everything stranded can, it is just less flexible and is not good to be constantly bending/moving around (the solid wires can break over time). Stranded is more flexible, and cannot be punched down in punch blocks very easily.
 

Jay_2

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 20, 2006
Messages
3,583
That's it, I fucking give up with this forum.

P11 my advice is ignor this place and do some more reading otherwise you'll be terminating solid CAT5 with standard RJ45 connectors and running VoIP phones on the data vlan and god knows what else in no time at all.
 
Last edited:

timta2

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Feb 3, 2010
Messages
1,393
I've worked for several custom A/V companies (Including a CE PRO Top 100 company) installing and servicing structured wiring systems. I've never seen stranded Cat 5/e/6/e used. I've terminated probably several thousand solid Cat 5/e/6/e cables with RJ45s and never had any problems at all and no return calls I can think of.

I've also used tons of patch panels and keystone jacks as well.
 

m1abram

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 15, 2002
Messages
3,175
Main reason for patch panels beyond cable management is structured wiring is expensive to redo, if you do not touch the wire it has less chance of failing. The short patch cables you handle you can easily and cheaply replace.
 

goodcooper

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 4, 2005
Messages
9,768
That's it, I fucking give up with this forum.

P11 my advice is ignor this place and do some more reading otherwise you'll be terminating solid CAT5 with standard RJ45 connectors and running VoIP phones on the data vlan and god knows what else in no time at all.

lol if you think you can't buy connectors for solid wire then we're probably better off without you...
 

Red Squirrel

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 29, 2009
Messages
9,211
Their goal is mostly manageability. It's kinda hard to screw up a port, but it's possible to screw up a patch cable (Ex: little clip breaks). Much easier to change a patch cord than a whole run (ex: if not enough cable to recrimp). It's also cleaner. You know what each jack goes to, from there you can feed anything you want to it, not just ethernet. At home what I use it for often is if I want to temporarily plug a USB device far from the computer, I can just patch two jacks together, and use a USB to ethernet box on both ends. Quick and easy without setting up any permanent wiring.
 

AT-AT28

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 23, 2012
Messages
180
Why? Because you have not seen solid core wire terminators before?

http://www.amazon.com/Tripp-Lite-N0...55537158&sr=1-2&keywords=rj45+solid+connector

Thats a quick example, I buy from my bulk wire suppliers all the time. The connectors are specifically designed for Solid core Cat5 wire....

WTF is this guy talking about, I terminate solid core Cat5e cabling all the freaking time for my investment firm clients. Solid core isn't as flexible yes but its alot more reliable and results in better termination connections if done properly.
 

Red Squirrel

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 29, 2009
Messages
9,211
It works to add ends to solid, but results may vary. I tried it a few times with cat6 solid with poorer results than cat5e stranded. Some cables would not even register at gigabit! If you have the proper ends I guess it probably helps though. I just had standard ends that you'd buy anywhere. They're normally made for cat5e stranded I believe.
 
D

Deleted member 12106

Guest
That's it, I fucking give up with this forum.

P11 my advice is ignor this place and do some more reading otherwise you'll be terminating solid CAT5 with standard RJ45 connectors and running VoIP phones on the data vlan and god knows what else in no time at all.

You notice I don't come around all too often...
 

Grentz

Fully [H]
Joined
May 5, 2006
Messages
17,198
It works to add ends to solid, but results may vary. I tried it a few times with cat6 solid with poorer results than cat5e stranded. Some cables would not even register at gigabit! If you have the proper ends I guess it probably helps though. I just had standard ends that you'd buy anywhere. They're normally made for cat5e stranded I believe.

If you use Stranded ends, yes you can have issues. Also if you use Cat5 terminators on Cat6 you can have issues "sometimes".

But if you buy the matching parts, you will have no issue whatsoever. This is honestly the first time in over 10years of being in the trade I have heard someone say not to put terminators on solid core cable...WTF?
 

Grentz

Fully [H]
Joined
May 5, 2006
Messages
17,198
Fold them in half while you at it. Who needs to care about bend radius? :confused:

That's an entirely different thing, and and a serious one. Bend radius does matter, a lot. Since solid core can break much more easily and it can degrade the wire.
 

RocketTech

2[H]4U
Joined
Oct 7, 2009
Messages
2,359
You most certainly can terminate solid Ethernet cable with RJ45 plugs. As stated earlier, the main reason for patch panels is to isolate static building infrastructure from dynamic equipment use. I warranty between and inclusive of wall jacks/patch panels for 15 years. I don't warranty patch cables beyond initial installation. I can't control how anything outside of the wall is used, but I can certainl tell when some duffer has been messing with structured cabling.
Jay does bring u an important if not whining point- check sources, investigate best practices, ask questions until you comfortably understand. Bad advice is given, even on the [H], so be sure you understand well enough to make sure it applies to your case.
If all else fails, experiment and let us know how it goes. I'll admit I cut a length of solid UTP, terminate it with 8p8c plugs and use them as patch cables all the time. I'll be the first to admit it isn't ideal and wouldn't do it for customers.
Home hobbyist installs typically have different concerns from commercial/enterprise installs.
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2010
Messages
832
lol if you think you can't buy connectors for solid wire then we're probably better off without you...
The problem is that while you can buy connectors for solid wire, there's no such thing as a "universal" solid connector. The wire gauge and external diameter of solid ethernet cables varies considerably. If you try different cables with the same connector, you will inevitably find that some conductors are too big to fit in the connector without unacceptable flexing and compression. Some cables with bulky splines will get crimped/pinched by the retaining tab, while other splineless cables aren't thick enough to engage the retaining tab properly.

None of those problems will ever arise when punching down solid cables. The punch down process takes less effort and is harder to screw up than crimping, so most people would say "why crimp when you can punch?"
 

Jay_2

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 20, 2006
Messages
3,583
Please re read what I said.

I didn't say you couldn't buy them neither did I say you couldn't terminate them with RJ45s
What I said was it wasn't designed to be terminated with RJ45s and also that if he carries on listening to people saying that it can be terminated he would end up terminating them with standard RJ45 connectors

I would like to say sorry to everyone though, I flew off the handle and it wasn't needed. I love you all really, thanks dudes ;)
 
Last edited:

JayGannon

n00b
Joined
Sep 7, 2009
Messages
23
Yeah there's a different between design and best practice, and I can do it by using proprietary connectors and/or making it work because I don't want to use the correct wire. I can guarentee you that if a contractor was doing structured wiring for us and was attempting to terminate solid core with connectors they wouldnt be around for very long.
 

Grentz

Fully [H]
Joined
May 5, 2006
Messages
17,198
Yeah there's a different between design and best practice, and I can do it by using proprietary connectors and/or making it work because I don't want to use the correct wire. I can guarentee you that if a contractor was doing structured wiring for us and was attempting to terminate solid core with connectors they wouldnt be around for very long.

Exactly. With proper planning there are proper wire and connectors that can work together. But best practices say do not terminate solid core directly due to the risk that contractors use the wrong connectors and methods. The issue with most standards is that installers A) Need a reliable, repeatable process and tend to not put that much thought into every little detail as a lot of Enthusiasts do and B) Professional installs are a much different environment than a home or small office.

Some of the "professional" wiring guys could barely screw in a light bulb, but they are awesome at laying down tens of thousands of feet of wire :p ( I can rightfully say this, I have done plenty of professional wiring myself )

I run 2 Hyper-V hosts on desktop grade hardware at home. Works great, super reliable, but I would NEVER do it in a professional business setting.
 

goodcooper

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 4, 2005
Messages
9,768
Yeah there's a different between design and best practice, and I can do it by using proprietary connectors and/or making it work because I don't want to use the correct wire. I can guarentee you that if a contractor was doing structured wiring for us and was attempting to terminate solid core with connectors they wouldnt be around for very long.

absolutely...

i've walked in to offices without patch panels and a bundle of solid wiring coming out of a drop ceiling connected directly to a switch... these are "professional" offices of the largest tax prep company in the country...

every office i had oversight of cable installs were done w/ patch panels...

but i've also never seen anybody get so upset about terminating solid wire... i know guys who prefer to make their own patch cables, and will gladly do so w/ the leftover solid cable from the install... i myself find this incredibly tedious and would much rather buy a box of 100 1ft patch cables from monoprice for 40 bucks...

would i do it that way? no, but i'm not going to throw a fit about it and call everyone who does it idiots...


just don't be a stereotypical IT guy who takes their job way too seriously...

if somebody puts RJ45s on some solid cat5e, don't panic, just breath in, breath out, everything's going to be ok... this is coming from an IT Manager who's been dealing with a lot of wiring vendors as of late... i find the ones i like the best are the ones that do exactly as i tell them instead of the way they want to do it (like a phone guy)
 

schizrade

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 15, 2003
Messages
4,885
Why? Because you have not seen solid core wire terminators before?

http://www.amazon.com/Tripp-Lite-N0...55537158&sr=1-2&keywords=rj45+solid+connector

Thats a quick example, I buy from my bulk wire suppliers all the time. The connectors are specifically designed for Solid core Cat5 wire....

This. You can go either way. I prefer solid core for managed runs between wall jacks and patch panels, stranded patch cables for the rest.

He's mad cause he isn't right. Cue Curly Bill...
 

schnell

Gawd
Joined
Jul 22, 2005
Messages
763
if you can not terminate solid core cat5 with an rj45 end you might as well quit at computers.
 

jeffmoss26

2[H]4U
Joined
Aug 1, 2002
Messages
2,267
For temporary stuff I will crimp plugs on the end of solid cable, I've made tons of cables myself but I don't like to do it. It's much more cost effective to stock premade and tested patch cords in various lengths.
In a perfect world, everything would be a jack on the workstation end and a patch panel on the switch end, with beautiful wire management and patch cords the exact length...lol
 
Top