The interface panel that connects multiple optical fibre cables and optical equipment is commonly referred to as a fiber optic patch panel. Patch panels can be Din rail -Mounted, rack-mounted onto 19″, 21″, and 23″ rack systems, and some are wall-mountable.
It is typically a metal enclosure that houses adapter panels, fibre splicing trays, and excess fibre storage. Its basic design is an array of ports, each of which interfaces with another patch cable that connects to optical equipment located elsewhere in the building. The adaptor panel serves as an interface for the enclosure’s outside and inside ports.
A patch panel is a basic but essential component of any networking system. The device is made up of jacks that allow for connections, interconnections, testing circuit installation, and routing. Patch panels allow circuits and routing cables to be connected in a flexible and convenient manner.
Patch panels are essential accessories for organised cabling because they provide a variety of connectivity solutions to network hardware. Without patch panels, a local area network (LAN) is incomplete.
The two types of patch panels used in networking solutions are Ethernet patch panels and Fibre Optic patch panels. Ethernet patch cables are required for Ethernet applications.
What is a Fiber Optic Patch panel?
Fiber optic patch panels are the most common advanced type of patch panel used today. A fiber optic patch panel connects optical fibre cable and optical equipment. These can be installed in 19″ to 23″ rack systems as well as wall-mounted fiber patch panels.
Previously, fibre optic cables had a number of problems that hampered their performance. Cable bending and breaking were common, and people were opposed to using fibre optic cables. Furthermore, cleaning was required for optimal performance. Furthermore, the complex installation process, cost, and maintenance difficulties impacted acceptability. As a result, fibre optic systems suffered significant market setbacks.
Choose Best Fiber Optic Patch Panels?
Only buy fiber patch panels from reputable manufacturers. The production firm guarantees the life and error-free performance of the fibre optic patch panels through meticulous design, a well-organised manufacturing process, and detailed quality assurance analysis.
The selection process for fiber patch panels would primarily involve selecting the one that best meets your needs. Fiber optic panels should ideally be chosen based on panel location, panel compatibility, panel capacity, panel design, and panel density.
How to Connect Fiber Optic Cable to Fiber Optic Patch Panel?
There are two common methods for terminating fiber optic cable. The first method is to use connectors to connect two cables, and the second method is to connect the fibers to network equipment such as fibre optic patch panels or switches for better cable management. Fiber optic cable should be installed in a way that minimises signal loss, regardless of the terminations used. However, how do you properly connect fibre optic cables to fibre optic patch panels? Today, we’ll go over the steps of this process. First, let’s take a look at the patch panel.
Types of Patch Panel
A patch panel is the interface between several optical fibres and optical equipment. It is a fiber termination unit that aids in networking and fibre distribution from the wiring closet to various terminal equipment. Patch panels are classified into two types based on their design: wall mount and rack mount. Fiber optic cable and connectors can be housed, organised, and protected in either type.
A low-profile and compact wall mount fibre patch panel is typically installed on interior walls. It has a terrace where a flexible cabling system can be installed. This patch panel is ideal for installing pre-connected cables and connectors on-site.
A rack mount fiber patch panel is an indoor network device designed for standard 19-inch rack mounting. Because of the various connection requirements, it is available in 1U, 2U, and 4U sizes. This type can accommodate all types of fiber adapter ports, including SC, LC, ST, and FC.
Structure of Fiber Optic Patch Panel
A typical fibre enclosure is made up of four distinct elements. They are enclosed chambers for holding adapter panels, mating connector adapters, and organising splice trays. Thus, technicians can use a fibre optic patch panel to neatly and securely terminate fibre optic cables. They can also install, repair, and upgrade networks quickly and efficiently with the help of a patch panel.
Steps of Connecting Fiber Optic Cable to Fiber Optic Patch Panel:
It is critical to connect the cables correctly to the fibre optic patch panel so that the device can function properly. You can do it if you follow the steps.
Step 1: First, prepare a fibre optic patch panel and ensure that this work will be done on a clean and level work surface. Because the patch panel is delivered empty, the adapters must be inserted into the mounting plate. Then secure the mounting plate in place.
Step 2: Prepare cables according to standard termination procedures, and make sure there is plenty of extra cable to work with. Fix the cable to the gland and roll the excess fibre onto the spool. After that, remove the safety cap and insert it into the adapter. Once all of the cables are connected, use a zip tie to secure the cables in a bundle.
Step 3: To distinguish the cables, label each jack location on the fibre optic patch panel. Install the patch panel in a rack or cabinet.
FIBER OPTIC PATCH PANEL TYPES
Patch panels can be categorized into different types based on a few different criteria.
- Din Rail Patch Panel
- Rack Mount versus Wall Mount
- Fiber Enclosure Design
- Does It Have a Splice Tray?
- Port Numbers
Din Rail Patch Panel:
The din rail liu / fiber patch panels are designed to mount on a 35 mm Din rail frame to provide cross-connect and interconnect capabilities for splicing & termination of OFC cables, pigtails in fiber access network called Din Rail mount fiber optic LIU or patch panel / liu fully loaded.
Rack Mount versus Wall Mount:
Rack Mount Fiber Patch Panels
Typically, the rack mount panel, which resembles a drawer, holds the fibres horizontally. Rack mount panels are available in 1U, 2U, and 4U sizes and can accommodate up to 288 or more fibres. They can be installed on standard 19″ relay racks.
Using the internal mounting holes, wall mount fiber optic patch panels can be easily mounted to any wall.
Fiber Enclosure Design
The rack mount enclosures include two kinds. One is the slide-out variety and the standard variety.
The sld rack mount patch panel design gives engineers easy access to the fibers inside but it’s more expensive.
Jack Panel Design
The lid type is less expensive but requires the user to remove the whole enclosure from the rack to gain internal access.
Rack Size (1U, 2U, 3U, 4U…)
In general, rack size is measured in U or RU units. This unit specifies the height of rack-mountable equipment. The most common rack size in data centres is 1RU.
Furthermore, 2RU and 4RU are used for high-density applications. In this section, you should select the appropriate size for the panels based on their intended working location.
Is there a splice tray?
Pigtail or field termination can be used for the connection in a patch panel. If the pigtail method is used, a splice tray in the patch panel is required. This method provides the best connection quality and is usually the quickest.
For field termination, the second method employs a fibre optic connector. A fibre optic connector is installed directly onto the individual fibres. This method takes longer than pigtail but does not require a splice tray in the patch panel. However, the connection quality may be inferior to that of pre-terminated pigtails.
Fiber patch panel ports allow data to enter and exit the panel. The number of these ports varies between 12, 24, 48, 64, 72, 96, and even 288. There is no restriction on the number of ports on a patch panel.
Unisol provides a 4RU rack mount fibre optic enclosure with 288 fibres and 12 slots duplex fiber adapter panels.This high density patch panel provides a flexible and modular system for managing fiber terminations, connections, and patching in all applications.
With its high fiber densities and port counts, it maximises rack space utilisation and minimises floor space. This enclosure makes network deployment, moves, additions, and changes simple. It’s an ideal solution for engineers who need to terminate and distribute fiber.
Where do you want the patch panel to be installed? Should it be placed indoors or outdoors? What level of protection would there be from natural elements such as rain and dust? As a first step, examine all of these variables. A patch panel that will be used outside must be strong enough to withstand the elements.
Prior to selecting the patch panel, confirm the polarity, performance, and connector type. Compatibility is doubtlessly an important consideration when selecting fiber patch panels. The compatibility of the panel with the embedded components would determine connectivity and performance. The technology used must be scalable in order to accommodate potential future changes.
The intended area to be examined is the volume, load, and connections. You must ensure that the fibre patch panel meets your networking requirements. Overloading the patch panel can have a negative impact on performance. Loaded and unloaded (modular) fibre patch panels are available. Preloaded ports, adapter panels, and other accessories are included with the loaded patch panels. Unloaded/modular patch panels, on the other hand, are adaptable, allowing you to increase the number of connectivity ports and capacity.
The Advantages of using a Fiber Patch Panel include:
- Allows for the simple termination of fibre optic cables.
- Connections of all input jacks/ports into a patch panel in a central location that are well-organized and simple to manage
- Because all changes can be made at the patch panel, it makes it easier to connect different devices in different orders.
- Because all connections are patched using the ports in the patch panels, there are no costs associated with wear and tear on the input ports of networking equipment.
Which are the Applications using a Fiber Optic Patch Panel?
Din Rail Patch Panel :
- Oil & Gas Industries
- CCTV & Surveillance Applications
- Rail Signalling & Control Applications
- Process Automation & Control Systems
- Power Systems & Controls
Rack Mount Patch Panel:
- Indore Premise Networks
- Central offices (FTTx)
- Data Centers
- Telecommunication Networks
- Security Surveillance Applications
Wall Mount Patch Panel:
- Outside Plant
- Mining & Military
- Road & Rail
- Ship to shore
- Industrial Uses
- Transmission boxes for substation
- CCTV & FTTH Applications
- Factory and automation applications
Fiber optic patch panel is a cost-effective way for cable management. Connecting fiber optic cable to the patch panel is easy and can actually optimise the network work. So why not have a try?