A patch panel is a panel with an array of ports connected via a patch cable to other ports located at different places in the building.
The purpose of using a fiber optic patch panel is networking. It makes the connection of different equipment such as computer servers, switches, or other electronic instruments much easier and more organized. For example, a patch panel installed at any central location can offer a neat and easily manageable solution to a wired network. If this feels confusing, here is another example—the desk locations in an office can be easily cabled to a wiring closet’s fiber optic patch panel. Further, the user can connect short patches between the switch and the patch panel. This step makes re-patching desk locations easy and simple as you may not need to touch the desk patch panel.
Why are fiber optic patch panels used?
Also known as fiber distribution panels, these help in the easy termination of fiber optic cables. Plus, they provide easy access to individual fibers of a fiber optic cable for establishing a cross connection. A fiber optic panel has a simple design with a metal enclosure that further encloses the fiber splice trays and adapter panels. To fuse fibers and fiber optic pigtails that are already plugged into fixed ports of the adapter panels, splice trays are used for this purpose. The ports inside the panel are mostly fixed, so cables will not get disconnected. On the contrary, ports outside the panel are reserved for the patch cable, which can be plugged-unplugged as needed while arranging the connections between the devices.
The fiber patch panel consists of two compartments, where one contains adapters and the other one serves as a splice tray to store excess fiber.
What are the benefits of using a fiber optic patch panel?
You can make necessary changes in a single place.
With patch panels, connecting different devices becomes easier as all the changes can be made in a single place in the patch panel.
No need to look for more input ports
A patch panel can group all the input ports in one place. It means that all the devices can be scaled in racks and further connected without the need to find the instrument or rack with a flashlight searching for the correct port.
Minimizes wear and tear of expensive equipment
Patch panels can also save wear and tear on input ports of all the networking equipment like switches and servers because the patch panel will be at the core of all the connections.
How many types of patch panels are available in the market?
Patch panels can be classified into different types based on specific criteria such as:
- The place of installation like Rack Mount or Wall Mount
- The enclosure design of fiber.
- Indoor or Outdoor application
- The size of the rack
- Availability of a splice tray or without it.
- Number of ports available
The fiber optic patch panel is an essential component in a fiber optic networking system. It makes the networking of different devices easy and manageable. Other forms of fiber optic equipment include pigtails, fiber optic splitter, fiber optic adapters, etc. Choose wisely as per your needs and purpose.