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Master_Scythe

What is the point of a patch panel?

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As the onsite desktop guys in the government, we're all discussing various stuff.

 

And we all started bitching about patch panels. You know, the big flat panels that take matchbox size connectors.

 

Floor Port > Patch panel > Switch Panel > Switch (those who work in big networks; the're really old KRONE panels).

 

 

Our questions was: why?

 

 

The switches are in the same room, right next to the panel, why are they not just Floor port > Switch?

 

One cat6 cable, terminated into a standard connector at each end, straight into the switch.

 

We are forever walking between sites to re-plug the patch panel cables when someone trips over them, or they are pulled out by their own weight. There has to be some excuse to use these in the first place.

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As the onsite desktop guys in the government, we're all discussing various stuff.

 

And we all started bitching about patch panels. You know, the big flat panels that take matchbox size connectors.

 

Floor Port > Patch panel > Switch Panel > Switch (those who work in big networks; the're really old KRONE panels).

 

 

Our questions was: why?

 

 

The switches are in the same room, right next to the panel, why are they not just Floor port > Switch?

 

One cat6 cable, terminated into a standard connector at each end, straight into the switch.

 

We are forever walking between sites to re-plug the patch panel cables when someone trips over them, or they are pulled out by their own weight. There has to be some excuse to use these in the first place.

There may be certain applications where running a patch lead directly from a PC to switch is valid, however in the majority of environments where you have moves/add/changes proper cable management is desirable. Note I say proper, because proper cable management will not be tripped over or fall out by their own weight. Proper cable management will assist with airflow, and tracing of connections if/when required.

 

If you run a single UTP tie terminated with 8P8C connectors patched directly into the switch and PC, what happens when that cable is damaged, or clips are broken?

 

Sounds like you need a licensed cabler come in and fix up whatever crap you've got, and stop people tripping over it (wtf?).

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hrmm, there is a reason that patch panels and switches are supposed to be in secured cabinets.

 

Big part of my job is ensuring cables don't affect Workplace Health and Safety as well.

 

(Edit: I work in schools though, you want to keep as much as possible out of the reach of kids.)

Edited by smadge1

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Mainly for when theres separate IT and phone hardware. Most sites I've been too, IT is outsourced, with someone internal looking after the phone hardware

 

It reduce wear and tear on the switch

 

It removes cable management from near hardware - Hows your patch panels look? Most Ive seen are pretty crap - Want to keep that mess away from the switches

 

Diagnostic as well - Gives you a few more troubleshooting methods to use

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Ours looks something like this

http://johnfagan.files.wordpress.com/2009/...w=225&h=300

 

Imagine that, but about 4 times worse. You literally need to take a stick\ruler etc. with you, to slip inside the nest of cables so you can get your hand in.

 

Also we handle IT and phones are outsourced. Also the patch panel is within 1ft of the switches in every building and room.

 

And since there is not enough ports for each patch, the switch has to have its CAT5 manipulated every time anyway. I think I have one or 2 photos around..... I'll try get more.

 

hrmm, there is a reason that patch panels and switches are supposed to be in secured cabinets.

 

Big part of my job is ensuring cables don't affect Workplace Health and Safety as well.

 

(Edit: I work in schools though, you want to keep as much as possible out of the reach of kids.)

Oh yeah, they're secured, but people like Teldaco who do the phones dont care. If they trip on the mess of cables, they just plug back in randomly. Which is understandbbale, there is NO WAY to tell where one came from.

 

Also having SOME of the 6-strand patch locations be hardwired with analogue phone lines is retardedly confusing.

 

 

 

I need to get you guys photos to understand. Just imagine :

 

[floor port rack][data port rack]

{TINY AREA TO WALK BETWEEN}

[switch][DarkFiber][CCTV Security]

 

and i swear, that link I showed above, looks neat. You literally need another person or a stick in our rooms to get the cables apart enough to get your hand in.

Edited by Master_Scythe

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A patch panel is a brilliant thing if you take the care to document it and there is SOME kind of order.

 

In our old building we had no documentation when it came to where any data was patched and you would literally need to trace from the floor patch port to the data patch port, then from the data patch on the rack to the switch. The racks were a mess and it very much did look like the image you posted above. Things were similar for the phones however there was at least some documentation for that.

 

When we moved I took care to make sure that the switch to rack data patch was done properly. There is an exact one to one matching for every (floor) switch port to a data patch port on the 110 patch panel, and everything was documented. That cabling was done three years ago and has not been touched since. Then all of the data patches are documented so we know exactly where every floor port ends up on the switch.

 

Overall it makes the racks a lot neater and even lets me know which VLAN a particular floor port is on without checking in the switches as I know that this section of the patch panel is VLAN X.

 

I'll try to find pictures of the before and after to show you what I mean.

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I think this may be a good example of what you mean (As in - why have a patch panel?) - This is a patch panel I used to have to work with daily, but was never allowed or approved the overtime one weekend to bloody clean it

 

Posted Image

 

Thats the switches up top, and the patch panel below. Pink labels are phone ports and yellow data

 

Nightmare - Theres splitters and routers and modems hidden behind that wiring

Edited by Khirareq

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I take pride in keeping the network cabinets/patch panels I am responsible for neat and tidy. It's not possible to document every lead, but if it's tidy, it's not too difficult to trace the ends.

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Khirareq, if you tied most of them in knots around each other, yes. seriously their own weight pulls them out of the wall, and often breaks the connectors on the wall.

 

At least those ones end up straight toward the ends. Ours are usually knotted toward the end and cant be removed. So you have to leave them 'dead' but part of the rats nest and just add another.

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Yeah - That is from my grooming - Shoulda seen it before I cleaned it. Wasn't allowed to disconnect anything, so that was the best I could do to manage it (Still like a dredlock though) - Would've been a lot easier to bypass the patch panel altogether here and just have cables straight out the roof

 

The worst bit was, this was in a fairly major gov dept in Canberra - The door didn't even have a lock. Forever having issues with users thinking they knew what they were doing rewiring stuff (go in and reroute the ADSL connection to their desks to bypass the gov firewalled system)

 

Got better once we moved to new building, but the patch system there was some clapped up system where the Cat6E cables pointed back into the patch panel - Massive knots and always have to disconnect other clients when moving a connection

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My favourite so far is the site where the patch panel is wired onto the wall in a bracket that is A) too short to screw our switches into and B) directly under the PABX with a massive (not used) optic cable sticking out of the wall (literally sticking out, as if someone just bashed it through with a hammer), the end result is that the two slots where the switch should be, are totally unusable.

Oh, and when I say, it's wired onto a bracket on the wall, I mean its just sticking out of the middle of a flat wall, not in a cupboard, or even server room, just sitting there in the middle of the office. The server cabinet sits awkwardly at a 45 degree angle infront of this panel, so that there is room to access it, as well as the printer and data backup machines.

 

also, only about 60% of the ports on the patch panel actually correspond to the same number on the floor end.

of those floor ports, about 5 or 6 (out of 48) have been kicked inside the wall, so that we cannot disconnect the patch leads from them as if we did, we would lose the plug forever.

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:)

 

And every single one of those badly wired sites would probably fail 3080, let alone an ACMA audit - fail one of those and you can be shut down until it is rectified and fined.

 

Doesn't seem to stop them though, does it?

 

Cheers

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We had a machine go rogue and start spamming our network once.

 

I'm glad we had a patch panel to help find the machine among hundreds of others.

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We had a machine go rogue and start spamming our network once.

 

I'm glad we had a patch panel to help find the machine among hundreds of others.

How does a patch panel help? You could have easily looked for the spamming port on the switch.

 

There is nothing you can do on a patch panel that you cant do on the switch, the ONLY reason I can legitimately think of using one, is for a. Analogue phones, or b. If the switches were located somewhere out of the same room.

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Really it comes down to panel design and being able to quickly replace a busted cable.

 

If you terminate the runs going direct to the floor outlets straight on to RJ-45s and you break one then you have to get out the crimp tool and mess around doing the 1,2, 3,6 juggle right there in front of the equipment - not the easiest thing in the world.

 

With a panel you just replace the patch cord, same out on the floor, otherwise you might as well use one run of cable switch to NIC and spend half your life re-terminating.

 

You also would most likely not get as good results with NEXT and FEXT - it's far easier to terminate on the panel and outlet punch downs and keep the twists up tight to the socket and gas tight. Sockets do add a modicum of reflection, but that's built in to the spec.

 

Panels have come a long way with angled panels and verticals making it possible to achieve much neater racks without cable waterfalls.

 

Personally I like verticals, everything can be close to the relevant switch/server with a bit of planning and you don't lose rack units - that's a big concern of mine in our forthcoming data centres where every RU I lose is real-estate I can't populate with blade servers. Siemon do a damned nice rack with all cable management in the verticals so all 46 RU, with a 50RU apparently coming, can be loaded with blades.

 

High density DCs are a special case of course, the cabling doesn't get messed with much once the kit is installed but the reasons apply equally to a small server room or wiring closet.

 

Cheers

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