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Patch Panels and Terminations

With each run of ethernet cable in your house you’ll need to terminate the ends. In the individual rooms you may choose to have the cable wired into a neat wall plate which devices can then be plugged into. Or if that cable is always going to be connected to a device, you might choose to simply have the cable hanging out of the wall with an ethernet plug attached to the end.

Where the other end of each cable arrives in the network cabinet, you can fit a plug to each cable and plug directly into the switch. This is usually sufficient for smaller home networks and ones where you aren’t using a proper network cabinet. If you just have your switch mounted to a wall or on in a cupboard it’s likely to be the best solution.

If you do have a rack-mountable network cabinet, you should consider terminating the ends of the cables into a patch-plate. This is basically a strip of metal which will attach within your rack and has rows of ethernet ports on it. Using a patch panel will provide easier, more structured better cable management. Your patch panel and switch (or switches) can be mounted above and below each other in your rack.

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Several short pre-terminated patch-leads are then used to connect the ports on your patch panel to the ports on your switch.

Make sure that all terminations you buy, plugs, sockets and patch panels are up to the same specification of the cables you’ve installed! If you are using CAT6 cable, use CAT6 plugs and plates.

Next; what you need to know about choosing a network switch…