In-Depth Study of Cat 5e, Cat 6 and Cat 6a Patch Panel

With the complication of your network, do you have the trouble that the patch cables deployed in your network are always in a mess? If yes, you are suggested to use the patch panel for better cabling management. Since the copper patch panel can be available at a less expensive cost than fiber patch panel but can also perform well in managing the cables in your network, it is a good choice for you to choose copper patch panel for deploying a neat, fast and secure network.

Copper patch panel for cabling

At present, there are three commonly used types of copper patch panels designed with different aims, Cat 5e, Cat 6 and Cat 6a patch panel, both of which have their own features and advantages. To better know these three kinds of copper patch panels, the following will mainly introduce their basic information, which may help you select one of the most suitable patch panel for deploying your network.

What Is the Cat 5e Patch Panel?

Cat 5e patch panel, always used for Fast Ethernet network, is made up of steel materials that is compliant with TIA/EIA 568 industry specification. For the advantage of steel materials, it can work well even in the most extreme conditions. Meanwhile, it is equipped with individual, fully modular printed circuit boards (PCBs) and a rear cable manager. In general, the Cat 5e patch panel is designed with 6-port and 8-port module grouping that may have 8, 12, 24 or 48 ports totally. With this high density design, it has the ability to greatly save the valuable rack space, maximize the performance of your network and keep up with the growing changes of your network.

What Is the Cat 6 Patch Panel?

To face the increasing demand of the network, Cat 6 patch panel is specially designed for 1 Gigabit Ethernet network, which has already meet or even exceeded the TIA/EIA 568 industry specification. As for its wiring configurations, the Cat 6 patch panel can be provided with both T-568A and T-568B wiring scheme on the market. Furthermore, it is always terminated with the standard 110 termination tools on the rear, allowing for quick installation. In contrast with Cat 5e patch panel, it can be also configured with 6-port or 8-port modules, but available with more ports, such as, 12, 24, 48, and 96 ports. All in all, this kind of patch panel supports easier cabling management and saves more data center rack space.

What Is the Cat 6a Patch Panel?

CAT6a patch panel is an advanced kind of copper patch panel, published with the aim of meeting the requirements of 10 Gigabit Ethernet network. For this purpose, it offers usable bandwidth beyond 250MHz and exceeds the TIA/EIA-568-B.2-1 component, the permanent link and the channel level performance specifications. What should be noted is that it also can be backward compatible with lower level cabling systems. Compared with the previous two kinds of copper patch panel, this one has the enhanced front and rear labeling features for easy circuit identification. In addition, T568A and T568B wiring configurations are also available for this kind patch panel, which can be easily recognized by the color-coded wiring label.

Nowadays, there are various kinds of CAT6a patch panels with different amounts of ports, varying from 12 to 96 ports. Among these kinds of CAT6a patch panels, the patch panels with 24- and 48-port are very popular that provides the maximum strength and durability and eliminates panel flex during termination. Besides, there are port labeling areas and port numbering in these kinds of patch panels, which makes the circuit identification easier.


From this paper, it is easy to conclude that the Cat 5e patch panel is specially designed for Fast Ethernet network, while the Cat 6 patch panel is more suitable for 1 Gigabit Ethernet network. If you want to upgrade your network to 10 Gigabit Ethernet network, then the CAT6a patch panel must be a good choice for you. For better cabling management, choosing the most suitable patch panel is really important that can help you deploy a neat, fast and secure network and greatly ensure the performance of your network.


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