Fiber Optic Enclosure: What to Benefit From It?

In data centers, there are a variety of cable management accessories used in collocation with enterprise network components, such as fiber optic patch panel, fiber optic enclosure and cable ties. In my previous post – Patch Panel vs Switch: What’s the Difference? – I have introduced the role of fiber optic patch panel as a cable management tool. Fiber optic enclosure/fiber optic box is also a frequently used tool for rack cabling solution. This post will introduce fiber enclosure and what we can benefit from it.

What Is Fiber Optic Enclosure?

Fiber enclosure/fiber spice box may refer to an empty box or an intact unit after installation. A loaded fiber optic box contains installed assembly units to connect and separate various fiber optic cables. Usually fiber optic enclosure unloaded comes with 1U/2U/4U available, which can house corresponding quantity of fiber optic cassettes or fiber patch panels. Some people mention fiber optic enclosure and fiber optic patch panel as the same thing since they are matching devices.

FS slide-out 1U rack mount FHD fiber optic enclosure interior structure in data center application

Figure 1: FS slide-out 1U rack mount FHD fiber optic enclosure interior structure in data center fiber cabling application.

What to Benefit From Fiber Optic Enclosure?

Cable Management Function
  • In general, fiber enclosure functions cable management in data centers for a clean and tidy cabling environment.
  • It houses and fix fiber optic patch panel or fiber optic cassettes in a box for better management and protection.
  • Fiber optic enclosure inside accessories such as fiber slack management spool provides a proper bend radius for cables and helps to route, manage and store fibers.
  • Different types of adapters installed-in enable various incoming fibers to be terminated in high density and protected them from damage.
Optional Design for Different Deployment Scenarios

Fiber optic enclosure has different types available. They may differ from configurations such as fiber enclosure rack mount and fiber enclosure wall mount. Further, rack mount enclosure has different open-close designs, rack unit sizes, and patch panel/cassettes capacities. Different types of fiber optic enclosures cater for different deployment scenarios.

  • Mount Type Option

Wall mount enclosure usually fits for wall mount applications such as cross-connection in telecommunication room. Fiber enclosure rack mount is a very popular one for rack cabling solution in cabinet.

  • Slide-out Design

Rack mount enclosures have two models available in FS.COM: slide-out type and cover removable type. By using slide-out rack mount fiber optic enclosure, you don’t need to remove the enclosure from the rack for internal access. The transparent cover also allows fiber check under cover close state. This facilitates cabling management, maintenance and installation process.

  • High Density

Fiber optic enclosure also provides high density cabling while FHD and FHX fiber enclosure rack mount are designed. FHD fiber enclosures come with 1U, 2U and 4U model, correspondingly housing 4/8/12 FHD fiber adapter panels or 12 x FHD MPO/MTP cassettes and allow terminate 96/192/228 fibers. FHX rack mount enclosure is an ultra HD fiber optic enclosure, which holds up to 144 fibers in a compact 1U form factor to largely save you rack space.

FS IU FHX ultra HD fiber optic enclosure rack mount

Figure 2: FS FHX ultra HD fiber enclosure rack mount holds up to 12 FHX MPO/MTP – 12 cassettes/fiber optic adapter panels (144 fibers) in 1U.

Conclusion

Fiber optic enclosure is a box to load fiber optic patch panel/fiber optic cassettes and other accessories in to provide a cable management solution for fiber cabling. Fiber enclosure ensures a tidy cabling environment and protects fragile fibers from outside damage. Also, the elaborate design of various types of fiber optic enclosures allows different deployment scenarios and better caters for specific requirements. Fiber enclosure rack mount or fiber enclosure wall mount enclosure provides optional mount applications. Slide-out and transparent cover enables convenient inspection and maintenance. FHD rack mount fiber optic enclosure offers high density fiber termination in 1/2/4RU options. FHX ultra HD rack mount enclosure achieves high density fiber capacity in space-saving 1RU.

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.