A fiber patch panel is a piece of fiber network equipment that includes an array of ports on one panel.
That’s the short answer – but, in this article, we’ll dig into this piece of fiber equipment a bit more. We’ll start with a quick review of what a fiber network is, review fiber patch panel configurations in more detail, and explain how they’re commonly used in fiber networks.
Read on to learn more about fiber patch panels.
What is a fiber network again?
If you’re looking for fiber patch panels, there’s a strong chance you’re familiar with fiber networks. If that’s true, you can skip this section. But if you’re not – or if you just need a quick refresher – here’s the gist.
Fiber networks use thin strands of glass arranged in bundles called optical cables to transmit light signals over long distances. Light travels by bouncing off the walls of the cable repeatedly, until it eventually arrives at a destination where the signal is translated back into data and output for use by applications.
Fiber optic networks have two big benefits over other network types: 1) They allow for data to be transmitted rapidly over long distances, and 2) they typically enable more bandwidth and higher speeds for users.
That’s why major network companies (like Verizon, AT&T, and many others) have invested so heavily in these networks over the past decades.
What do fiber patch panels include?
We’ve defined fiber patch panels as pieces of equipment that include an array of ports on one panel – but that’s a relatively basic description.
Fiber patch panels usually take the form of metal enclosures. They’re designed to hold a variety of components, including:
- Adapter panels
- Connector adapters
- Splice trays (with space to spare for fiber storage)
All of these serve to organize cables and connections.
Examples of fiber patch panels
Fiber patch panels come in a wide variety of configurations.
For example, here’s a picture of our 12-port rack mount splice & patch panel.
And here’s our 24-port wall mount patch panel.
While the specs on these two pieces of equipment vary significantly, they both (like all patch panels) serve as hubs for fiber connection.
How patch panels are commonly used in fiber networks
Now that you know what components fiber patch panels include and have seen a couple of examples, let’s get to the final key consideration in understanding patch panels – their purpose and usage.
Fiber patch panels are used to organize fiber optic cables and connections.
They are not active devices, meaning they don’t actively filter data (like network switches). Instead, they simply provide a place for multiple connectors.
If you don’t use a fiber patch panel when building a fiber network, you typically need to run fibers at a greater length, perhaps directly all the way from switches to endpoints (the client’s optical network terminal, or ONT).
Running cables at this length makes them both more difficult to keep track of and more difficult to move. For example, if a server needed to be put on a different subnet, you would probably need to do a bit of construction work to rearrange the entire length of the cable – you might need to rip up the floor or take down a wall to get the cable to its new location.
However, with patch panels, adjusting cable connections is much easier. Ports are all in one place and patch cords are shorter, so network adjustments can be managed much more efficiently. Instead of ripping up the floor, you may be able to unplug one connector and plug in another.
Looking for a fiber patch panel?
Hopefully, you now have a clearer understanding of what a fiber patch panel is. These pieces of equipment play important roles in efficient fiber network design.
And if you’re looking to purchase a fiber patch panel for your network application, our technical experts can help.
At FIBERONE, we offer a variety of fiber patch panels, including:
- Wall mount patch panels with 12 or 24 ports, capable of both terminating and splicing fibers. See the products here.
- Wall mount patch panels with secure housing for 48, 72, or 144. See the products here.
- The U-Series Fiber Connectivity System (12-288 fibers). See the products here.
- Rack mount patch panels from 12-144 ports with a variety of configurations. See the products here.
If you’re not sure which variation will best meet your needs, get in touch with us.
We help network engineers and technicians to access the quality fiber products they need, quickly and with full confidence in performance. We’ll make sure that you order the right fiber optic splitter so that your installation goes according to plan – and you never need to make a return.