Q

Where to connect a switch -- Patch panel versus ports around the office

Is it possible to connect my switch directly to my patch panel rather than connecting the switch to the various ports around my office?

I'm attempting to revamp the network setup that we've got in my one floor office as it is a complete mess. We currently

have a switch that is directly connected to five servers and also connected to a DSL modem providing Net access. We also have a patch panel at our disposal, which has already been setup by the previous tenants. I have been using the patch panel for all the other workstations by connecting the switch to various ports around the office (which link to the patch panel) and using patch cables to connect various ports on the patch panel. Is it possible to connect the switch (and possibly my DSL modem ) directly to the patch panel rather than connecting the switch to the various ports around the office and use patch cables to interconnect ports on the panel?

First, how exactly are you connecting your workstations to the switch? I will explain how they should be connected here, and then you can compare that with your setup.

Devices that are near the switch (like the servers and your DSL modem) can be directly connected to the switch. For other workstations, you will need to do the following:

  • Install RJ45 Network Jack near the user's desk. Run a cable from this network jack to your patch panel.
  • Patch this cable to your patch panel.
  • Now run... a cable between the RJ45 port of the patch panel to any port on your switch (patch panel and switch should be installed in the same rack, so that standard 1m cable is sufficient for this purpose).

    This is normally how cabling should be done. So that in case one of the ports on the switch goes bad, all you need to do it remove the cable between patch panel and switch port, and connect it to some other working port on the switch.

This was first published in August 2004

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