Patch Panel Description

Normally a Patch Panel is installed into rack as a 1U panel. However patch panels may come in any number of heights, but in most cases 1U or 2U Patch Panels would just be stacked on top of each other within the rack to generate any size Patch Bay.

Patch Panels Manufacturers

Belden {Rack Mount Patch Panels}

Wilcom Inc. {19-inch and 23-inch Rack Mount Patch Panels, 1U, 2, 4U}

Patch Panel: One segment of a patch bay, as seen in the picture to the right.

Patch Bay: An assembly of hardware arranged with some number of common circuits, usually of the same or similar type, which present various signals on jacks for monitoring, interconnecting, and testing purposes. Patch bays facilitate flexibility in the use, routing or restoration of a variety of circuit types, such as dc, VF, group, coaxial, equal-level, and digital data circuits.

This page provides links to additional components used in a equipment rack or cabinet.

Index page; How To Specify a Equipment Chassis

Editor note; A Patch Panel works best when the equipment being used in a rack is stationary. That is, the equipment to be monitored is fixed to the rack with the intention that it would remain there for some length of time. Which would be the opposite of lab-bench equipment that might be moved every so often to another bench or lab. It would serve little benefit to install a patch panel and pre-wire the gear to a panel if the equipment was continuously being moved in and out of the rack. All the wiring is behind the rack or under a floor tile, so continually having to re-wire the test gear would serve no purpose. It would be easier and faster just to interconnect the gear via the front panel ports rather than having to work behind the rack.

Of course patch panels will only work for certain types of signals. An operator might not want a digital signal running from some device, to the patch panel and than off to another measurement instrument for example. So it's more common to find parch panels installed in racks with more analog gear than digital gear. Or if the equipment is digital than the outputs would want to be line drivers or some other type of cable driver. Most patch panels are also coaxial type connections as well, normally you would not find a multi-port digital port on a patch panel unless it was custom installed.

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