How to Connect a Patch Panel to a Switch

By Arnold Fischer

A patch panel is a device that all of the Ethernet wires terminate into for a computer network. From there, the network cabling is distributed to a switch. The patch panel keeps the appearance of the wiring closet looking neat as the wires attach to it on the rear. A panel reduces wear and tear on the wiring since it is connected on the back of the panel and limits user access once the wiring is installed. From the patch panel, small patch cables plug into a port on the panel, and then the cable plugs into the switch. It is much easier to replace a patch cable than to run new wires to the computer room or throughout a building.

Step 1

Attach the patch panel and switch to a rack-mounted floor stand in the wiring closet. These units are a standard 19" inches wide and the racks are designed to accommodate this size.

Step 2

Run the Ethernet cables from their jack locations out in the computer rooms. Each cable will come from a wall mounted jack that the installer has placed in the walls. They will all return to the wiring closet through a small hole cut to accommodate the wires.

Step 3

Connect the wires into the patch panel and use a punch-down tool to connect the wires to the appropriate slots on the patch panel. Once the wires are all attached, it is advisable to secure the wires in a bundle using plastic zip ties.

Step 4

Label each jack location on the patch panel to designate which room is connected by that jack. This will make troubleshooting a bad wire easier if need arises.

Step 5

Plug an Ethernet patch cable into each port on the patch panel and plug the other end into the switch port. These wires can be moved from port to port if needed to facilitate location changes to the network.