Patch Panel vs Switch: What’s the Difference?

In network setups we see everything is plugged into a switch, but before that fiber cables are also connected to another supply – patch panel. Thus one question is often confusing: patch panel vs switch: What’s the difference and what’s the significant function of them respectively?

What Is Patch Panel?

Patch panel (fiber optic patch panel, fiber optic enclosure) is a terminate unit of network ports centralized together. It is a cable management solution component used to organize fiber cables and keep everything neat for a clean wiring closet. In data centers, a mass of cable wires scattering all over and mixed together can be bothersome, in this case a patch panel is indispensable and rather helpful. It not only offers ease of management, but also protect the terminations from being knocked. Besides the fiber optic patch panel, other cable management accessories including cable ties and cable labels are also used to keep cables tidy and easy for identification.

patch panel vs switch: fiber optic patch panel

Figure 1: This photo shows the application of patch panel by FS.COM for cable management in a data center.

What Is Switch?

Switch, commonly known as network switch, is an appliance in a data center that connects all devices (such as PCs and servers) as a whole to achieve intercommunication and data sharing between different network devices. It channels the incoming data from multiple input ports to the specific output port so as to deliver the data toward its destination. In Ethernet LAN or WAN, modern network switch usually determines which output port to use by network address.

patch panel vs switch: network switch

Figure 2: This photo shows the application of network switch by FS.COM in a data center.

Patch Panel vs Switch: What’s the Difference?

Table below shows the main difference of patch panel vs switch.

Name Patch Panel Switch
Price Cheap Expensive
Role playing Cable management tool:
Centralizing cable wires together; protecting fiber cables from damage.
Functional performance: connecting all devices together to receive and transmit exact messages to the target device end.
Form feature  fiber optic patch panel  network switch
·Role in Date Center

Comparing patch panel vs switch, we can make the following conclusion. Patch panel is nothing but an essential cable management tool, which exerts no functional influence to the performance of data transmission. However, a switch is an irreplaceable functional supply in network setups.

Why Patch Panel Is Commonly Set Up in Network Installation?

As mentioned above, patch panel has no effect on the data transmission process. Can it be omitted in fiber optic cabling? Or can wires just directly plugged to a switch? The answer is yes when you just deal with several fiber cables. However, Ethernet patch panel is a must in data centers where there are a large number of Ethernet drops. No doubt you don’t want to see all the things tangled together. A patch panel in place provide ease management of classification, maintenance, repair, installation and upgrades.

Conclusion

This article gave an brief introduction to patch panel and switch respectively and then discussed the differences between them. Patch panel vs switch : what’s the difference, and why is a patch panel commonly set up in network installation whereas a switch is already used? Can you answer these questions now? Simply put, patch panel is an essential cable management tool whereas network switch is a significant functional supply in data center. Both of them play important role in their respective positions.

How to Build Your Data Center?

Today’s data centers are complex. It houses dozens of diverse bandwidth-intensive devices tightly such as servers, clustered storage systems and backup devices, all of which are interconnected by cables. Therefore, the importance of a reliable, scalable and manageable cabling infrastructure is self-evident. Then how to build a data center which can meet today and future growth? This article may give you some advice about it.

5

How to Plan?

As data center houses a number of servers which are connected by numerous cables, it’s important to make it organized. If not, the last thing you will encounter is a tangled mass of cables that make it impossible to determine how severs are connected. Let alone to build a high-efficiency data center. Here are some tips on how to start your data center.

Using a Structured Approach

Using a structured approach to make data center cabling means designing cable runs and connections to facilitate identifying cables, troubleshooting and planning for future changes. In contrast, spontaneous or reactive deployment of cables that only suits immediate needs often makes it difficult to diagnose problems and to verify proper connectivity.

Using Color to Identify Cables

Colors can provide quick visual identification, which simplify management and can save your time when you need to trace cables. Color coding can be used ports on patch panels, color sleeves, connectors and fiber cables.

Establishing a Naming Scheme

Once the physical layouts of a data center are defined, applying logical naming will make it easy to identify each cabling component. Effective labeling brings better communications and can reduce unnecessary problems when locating a component. The suggested naming scheme often includes Building, Room, Grid Cell, Workstation, etc.

How to Select the Necessary Cabling Components?

After knowing how to construct the backbone network of a data center, selecting a right and suitable cabling components can quickly become overwhelming. Each cabling component has its own advantages and disadvantages. So it’s important to get the right equipment purchased and deployed to avoid future cabling problems. Below are some tips on how to choose corresponding cabling components.

Patch Panel

Patch panels enable easy management of patch cables and link the cabling distribution areas. How to choose a suitable one? First, the patch panels which allow different cable connectors to be used in the same patch panel are a good choice. Second, when choosing a patch panel, the main types of connectors within one panels are LC for fiber and RJ45 for copper. Finally, patch panels with colored jacks or bezels allow easy identification of the ports also can be taken into consideration.

angledpatchpanels

Cable Manager

Cable managers offer a neat and proper routing of the patch cables from equipment in racks and protect cables from damage. Generally, there are horizontal and vertical cable managers. And there are different requirements of these cable managers. When choosing horizontal cable managers, it’s essential to make sure that certain parts of the horizontal cable manager are not obstructing equipment in the racks and that those individual cables are easy to be added or removed. While choosing vertical cable managers, additional space used to manage the slack from patch cords is needed.

cable-management-panel

Cable Ties

Cable ties are used to hold a group of cables together or fasten cables to other components. Using cables ties can avoid crushing the cables and impacting cable performance. Velcro cable ties provided by Fiberstore are perfect for controlling and organizing wires, cords, and cables. Besides, using ties will help you identify cables later and facilitate better overall cable management.

cable-ties

Of course, except for what have been mentioned above, there are other cabling components which need to be selected carefully such as cable labels, backbone cables and so on.

What Should Be Paid Attention to When Installation?
  • Cabling installations and components should be compliant with industry stands.
  • Use thin and high-density cables wherever possible, allowing more cable runs in tight spaces.
  • Remove abandoned cables which can restrict air flow and may fuel a fire.
  • Keep some spare patch cables. The types and quantity can be determined from the installation and projected growth. Try to keep all unused cables bagged and capped when not in use.
  • Avoid routing cables through pipes and holes, which may limit additional future cable runs.
Summary

Building a data center is not an easy task. Each step and component selecting during installations need carefulness and patience. FS.COM provides all cable products including structured cables, patch panels, cable ties, labels and other tools needed in data center installation. All of them will maximize the efficiency and reliability of the data center installation.

LC Uniboot Fiber Patch Cable – An Optimum Cable Management Option

With the ever lasting advancement of networking technology, there comes an increasing demand for data centers to accommodate higher density cables and more bandwidth. However, it is generally acknowledged that data centers are often with limited space. Then how to handle those massive cables in such circumstances becomes a vital issue. This article will introduce the LC uniboot fiber patch cable, an optimum alternative for cable management that is designed to deliver maximum connectivity performance.

LC Uniboot Fiber Patch Cables Description

LC uniboot fiber patch cable consists of two LC connectors that wrapped by a common housing with one boot. It is terminated on a single, round, two-fiber cable to achieve duplex data transmission. LC uniboot patch cable allows for up to 68% savings in cabling volume due to a compact design, and it can ensure easier maintenance and operability with tool-less field reversible polarity and color identification. All the features presented by LC uniboot fiber patch cable make it an ideal option for high density network environment.

LC uniboot fiber patch cable

Comparison Between LC Uniboot Fiber Patch Cables and Standard Ones

LC fiber optic connectors offer higher density and better performance in most environments when compared with other fiber optic connectors, making it a reliable and popular choice for many applications and equipment. This can explain why uniboot fiber patch cables are terminated with specially designed LC connectors. The innovative LC uniboot fiber patch cable, with its unique structure and compact design, performs even better than standard LC fiber patch cables in high density cabling environment. Here, we present the obvious differences between the LC uniboot patch cable and the standard LC fiber patch cable in the following picture.

LC uniboot fiber patch cable vs.standard fiber patch cable

Features of LC Uniboot Fiber Patch Cables

Genarally, there are three primary features concerning the uniboot fiber patch cables:

Adjustable Pitch—the unique style of the clip allows the LC Connectors to easily adjust for the increasing demand of a 5.25 pitch, as well as the standard 6.25 pitch. Eliminating the requirement for hybrid patch cables.

Reverse Polarity—with a few simple steps, the connectors polarity of the LC uniboot fiber patch cables can be reversed at will without connector re-termination.

Quick Release Latch—the latch of LC uniboot fiber patch cable allows for the quick and easy release of this connector from the adapter panel, which makes great sense in the growing trend of high density applications.

What LC Uniboot Fiber Patch Cables Can Achieve?

As we have mentioned previously, LC uniboot fiber patch cables are especially vital to space sensitive data centers and high density cabling environments, so what exactly we can benefit from deploying LC uniboot fiber patch cables?

Cable Congestion Reduction

With two fibers for duplex transmission firmly enclosed in a single cable, LC uniboot fiber patch cable effectively cuts down the cable count up to 50% compared with the standard LC duplex patch cords. Thus the space requirement of cabling can be significantly reduced by it, naturally result in less chance of cable congestion in data centers.

Effective Polarity Reversal

Changing the polarity of a standard LC duplex fiber patch cable may be annoying to many data center operators, especially when there happens to be a high density cabling system. This is sort of a time and energy consuming task since some minor mistakes could lead to various troubles. However, with LC uniboot patch cable, the polarity replacement can be much easier even without any additional tools. In terms of different types of LC uniboot patch cables, the polarity reversal steps may vary. We just illustrate two most used ones as follows.

LC uniboot polarity reversal

Conclusion

To address the increasing demand for high density applications and smaller fiber cable, the LC uniboot fiber patch cable is designed to help cut down cabling space and provide more effective polarity reversal solution, and to streamline cable management and logistics. Without doubt, LC uniboot fiber patch cable is the savior of popularized high-density cabling system. Hope this article could help you to choose the right LC uniboot patch cable for your applications, and for more products information and solutions, please visit www.fs.com.

Effectively Cable Management Cable is Almost Like an Art Form

As the modern workplace and family become more complicated and the use of more technology, so a lot of cables, infiltrate into our daily life is in proportion. In order to prevent becoming lost in the tangle, effective cable management is essential. Fortunately, there is a wide range of products and cable accessories in the market, this task is a little easier than ever.

Cable management kits

There are so many different accessories on the market, it can be difficult to know what to buy. For this reason, the cable management suite is a great choice, because they have a convened a series of items need to clean up and organize effective cable.

This kits come in many different shapes and forms, but all contain a variety of tools for effective cable management. Many contain a combination of cable wraps, ties and clamps. Others might contain cable trunking and accessories for fireproofing your cables and increasing airflow around them.

FiberStore products’ kits are perfect for added safety and fire prevention, and provides a fireproof seal for cables. The FiberStore cable joint kit meanwhile provides an all in one cable jointing solution utilising PVC and Polyurethane resin.

The importance of cale management

Cable management is particularly important in offices and other workplaces which make extensive use of computers and other electric equipment. Without a carefully thought out cabling strategy, server rooms and data centres could end up looking like spaghetti junction, with a tangled maze of cabling scattered haphazardly across floors and walls.

A disorganised cable management strategy is not only a logistical and aesthetic nightmare, it is also a health and safety risk.

Firstly, individuals working in close proximity to the cables might trip over them, endangering both the employee and the equipment.

Secondly, and most importantly, poorly coordinated cables present a significant fire risk. Many fires start as a result of electrical failure, and in the event of a fire, cables that are not protected may a result of electrical failure, and in the event of a fire, cables that are not protected may perish in the fire, exposing live wires and presenting a further electrical hazard to evacuating personnel.

To protect against such dangers, all kinds of cable management kits and other products with flame retardant qualities are available. The Kopex Flexible Conduit provides a flame retardant cabling solution, featuring a galvanised steel core and a PVC cover, and is both flexible and versatile.

Trunking pillows, such as the Newlec Fire Protection Pillow, can also be used to reduce the risk of fire. These are made of fire resistant compounds and are utilised to plug holes bored in walls and ceilings for the purpose of electrical cabling. This is vital, because in the event of a fire flames may quickly spread from room to room via any unsealed holes.

Effective and efficient cable management

Effectively management cable is almost like an art form, if do well can save time and money in the long run, and protect your equipment and your workers unnecessary risk.

FiberStore Online offers a range of products from cable management (such as Cable Hook, wire marker, and cable ties) to lighting perpherals such as emergency lighting, bulkhead light and thorn lighting peripherals, and a range of other cable and electrical products such as cable trunking and cable management items from top manufacturers.