Category Archives: Fiber Patch Panel

Fiber Optic Patch Panel Best Practices

The fiber optic patch panel, one type of the patch panels, is getting more popular with many expertise and customers getting to use it. It rides the waves of the optic product and meets appropriately our demands. As the fiber is fed through a coupler, the fiber patch panels are a lot easier to install and no hardwiring is needed.

What Is a Fiber Optic Patch Panel?

Fiber optic patch panel, also known as fiber distribution panel, serves as a convenient place to terminate all the fiber optic cable running from different rooms into the wiring closet and provides connection access to the cable’s individual fibers. Fiber patch panels are termination units, which are designed with a secure, organized chamber for housing connectors and splice units. Fiber patch panels are available in rack mounted or wall mounted and are usually placed close to terminating equipment (within patch cable reach). Both types can house, organize, manage and protect fiber optic cable, splices and connectors. Rack mount panels also come in flat and angled versions.

fiber patch panel

Why We Use Fiber Optic Patch Panel to Manage Cables?

Of course, if we skip it and just connect all cables directly into the hub, then we will miss the following advantages:

You can label the patch panel so you know which room the cable run goes to. Putting the labels on the cables is tougher to read than labels on a patch panel and there is also a risk of falling off. Having patch panel will become very handy and achieve neat cabling.

Best Practices in the Installation of a Fiber Patch Panel

In this part, we will use a 12 port rack mount fiber optic patch panel as an example. And the main body can be divided into 3 parts, namely cable preparation, splicing, and patch cable installation.

First, prepare fiber optic cable or blown tube as required and secure the network cable to the rear of the panel by using cable ties. For the easy operation, we need to unscrew and remove the splice tray. In addition, we need to cut the cable jacket off to punch down but avoid excess to limit crosstalk or damage. Then, splice input fibers onto the pigtails or field terminate connectors as applicable. Finally, put the cables in the panel form its back. Remove the protective covers of both the adapter and the connector and clean the connectors and place them in the adapters.

Conclusion

In a few words, a fiber optic patch panel gives you a very good cabling organization. The better cable management can spare you a lot of energy and time in case that you do trivial things. Though many people view it as a waste, I believe that everything has its meaning to exist in the world. What matters most is whether you can take advantage of it and apply it to the situation where it is actually needed.

Fiber Patch Panel for High Density Data Center

Fiber optic cable has been increasingly applied to meet the need of high speed network. In data centers, the cabling infrastructure turns to be more complicated. Under that situation, keeping good cable management is necessary since messy cabling will cause fiber optic loss and not easy for troubleshooting. Then fiber patch panels can serve as the tools for cabling systems.

Fiber-Patch-Panel

A fiber patch panel is also called fiber distribution panel. It’s used to terminate the fiber optic cable and provide connection to individual spliced fibers. Besides, fiber patch panels can create a secure environment for exposed fibers, housing connectors and splice unites.

Fiber Patch Panel Types

Fiber patch panels can be divided into two types. Both types can house, organize, manage and protect fiber optic cable, splices and connectors.

One is rack mount enclosure. Usually the rack mount enclosure holds the fibers horizontally and looks like a drawer. Rack mount enclosure is designed in 1U, 2U, 4U sizes and can hold up to 288 or even more fibers. The rack mount enclosures include two kinds. One is the slide-out variety and the other incorporates a removable lid. The sliding design of panels gives engineer easy access to the fibers inside but it’s more expensive. The lid type is less expensive but requires the user to remove the whole enclosure from the rack to gain internal access.

The other is wall mount enclosure. While wall mount enclosure is designed for enclosed wall mounting of adapter panels or splice trays. They are fabricated from steel sheets and finished with a light textured black powder coat. These panels can be easily mounted to any wall using the internal mounting holes. They can protect fibers from dust or debris contamination and organize the cables.

 wall-mount

Fiber Patch Panel Structure

A typical fiber patch panel contains four parts: enclosed chamber (rack mount or wall mount), adapter panels, connector adapters (providing low optical loss connection through mating appropriate connectors) and splice tray (organizing and securing splice modules). Adapters on a fiber patch panel are available in different shapes, such as LC, SC, MTP, etc. Most times, all adapters are of the same type in a panel. But sometimes a panel with different types of adapters is needed when more than one type of fiber optic connectors used in a network.

Fiber patch panel has two compartments. One contains the bulkhead receptacles or adapters, and the other is used for splice tray and excess fiber storage. Patch cable management trays are optional for some patch panels and make possible the neat storage of excessive patch cable lengths.

Fiber Patch Panel Ports

Fiber patch panel ports provide a place for data to enter and exit the panel. The number of these ports vary from 12, 24, 48, 64, 72, 96 to 288 and even more. Actually there is no limit to the number of ports on a patch panel. As long as there is enough room, you can fill the enclosure without interfering with the integrity.

FS.COM offers a 288 fibers 4RU rack mount fiber optic enclosure, loaded with 12 slots duplex fiber adapter panels. This high density patch panel provides a flexible and modular systems for managing fiber terminations, connections, and patching in all applications. With its high fiber densities and port counts, it maximizes rack space utilization and minimizes floor space. This enclosure makes it easy for network deployment, moves, adds, and changes. It’s a perfect solution for engineers to do the fiber termination and distribution.

288-fiber enclosure

Fiber Termination in the Patch Panel

In a patch panel, pigtail or field termination can be used for the connection. If it uses the pigtail approach, a splice tray is needed in the patch panel. This method provide the best quality connection and is usually the quickest. The second method uses fiber optic connector for field termination. A fiber optic connector is directly installed onto the individual fibers. This method usually takes longer time than pigtail but doesn’t need a splice tray in the patch panel. However, the connection quality may not be as good as pre-terminated pigtails.

Summary

Fiber patch panels are very useful especially in the high density data center. They feature with the benefits of easy fiber installation, maximum flexibility and manageability. Although patch panels are attractive, it’s the best only when it fits your application. No matter rack mount or wall mount type, loaded or unloaded, you should better choose the most suitable one based on your own situation.

Related article: Dos & Don’ts of Cable Management