Please recommend 12-port patch panel & Cat5e/6 question - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 58 Old 03-27-2012, 08:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Neurorad! An in-wall enclosure definitely seems more appropriate than a standard rack bolted to the wall.

Let me see if I have this straight:

1) Service loop/pull enters from the bottom of the enclosure.
2) Enclosure houses the patch panel, and what else _______?? My switch won't go in there right?
3) I run A/C to inside the enclosure?
4) I have rack-mountable switch/powerstrips, if I put them in the enclosure, I'm going to need to feed quite a few category cables and A/C cords out the bottom to the rest of the gear.
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post #32 of 58 Old 03-27-2012, 09:05 AM
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Nothing rack-mountable goes in the flush-mount enclosure.

Your other items needing AC power would be plugged in elsewhere.

Switch could go into the enclosure. My Netgear Prosafe GS116 16 port switch fits into the Channel Vision 1312 Large Univesal Product Holder nearly perfectly.

Not my enclosure, but pic of that:


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post #33 of 58 Old 03-27-2012, 09:10 AM
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Outlets are mounted in the bottom of the enclosure.

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post #34 of 58 Old 03-27-2012, 09:11 AM
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Channel Vision, Leviton, and OnQ are popular enclosure manufacturers.

Another pic showing outlet at bottom.



This surge protected outlet from Leviton is a popular choice for enclosure knockouts:


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post #35 of 58 Old 03-27-2012, 09:15 AM
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Because enclosures are shallow, an angled 12-port patch panel may be better:


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post #36 of 58 Old 03-27-2012, 10:06 AM - Thread Starter
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OK great! I think I have a real good idea about how it all should work.

Last question (for now!)... If I decide to mount the switch inside the enclosure, or even if I don't, I'll still need to get at least a dozen category cables from the enclosure to the room. Not the service loop, of course, but to things that also need to be wired to the switch, or the patch panel inside the enclosure.

How to you make these route these connections from gear sitting beside the enclosure?
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post #37 of 58 Old 03-27-2012, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

Because enclosures are shallow, an angled 12-port patch panel may be better:


Sorry to interrupt with maybe a dumb question. What is the purpose of a patch panel? Why not just have home runs of the ethernet cables right to the switch?

Thanks
MIKE
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post #38 of 58 Old 03-27-2012, 11:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mapostol View Post

Sorry to interrupt with maybe a dumb question. What is the purpose of a patch panel? Why not just have home runs of the ethernet cables right to the switch?

Thanks
MIKE

Just because it is cleaner and neater than having a bunch of loose wires coming out of the service pull. That's my take on it, anyways. Plus, you could label the drops on the patch panel, where you can't on a switch.
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post #39 of 58 Old 03-27-2012, 12:19 PM
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You'd use a scoop, brush pass through, or grommet, mounted in the drywall below the enclosure, for cables that need to run nearby.







Good question about the patch panel. It provides a termination point for permanent, long, in-wall cable runs. If the switch was in the enclosure, or on the wall, it could probably be skipped and the cables terminated directly into the switch.

Another common reason to use a patch panel is for cables that have multiple uses - category cable could be used for LAN, audio keypads, IR, RS232, alarm keypads. Patching provides an easy way to change the use.

I have about 20 category cables currently in use. 11 run directly to my distributed audio system, for keypads, and about 12 are patched, used for LAN. The other 15 or so category cables that I've retrofitted haven't been used yet, and are unterminated. The plan is to patch them, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

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post #40 of 58 Old 03-27-2012, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

You'd use a scoop, brush pass through, or grommet, mounted in the drywall below the enclosure, for cables that need to run nearby.

Use a scoop on drywall nearby to get patch cables out of the enclosure? I may not be asking the question properly.

For instance, I might have 10 Cat5e cables that need to go from the switch (on a desk nearby), to a patch panel that sits inside the in-wall enclosure. It just seems weird I'd have to cut another hole in the wall for a scoop, when my connecting items are right near by. Maybe I need to consider an off-wall enclosure, then I could run my service loop from right behind the enclosure, and then category cables out the bottom of a stand off panel for connection to external devices.
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post #41 of 58 Old 03-27-2012, 02:04 PM
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Yes, it is silly to put the switch on a desk nearby, and run a bundle of cables into the wall, and terminated at a patch panel.

Just use a scoop, and run your long in-wall category cables to the switch. Try to hide the bundle if you can.


http://cableorganizer.com/surface-ra...re-channel.htm



http://cableorganizer.com/cableties-...able-wraps.htm


When your switch dies, and your wife has complained for a few years about that cable bundle, then buy a recessed enclosure, or wall-mount or small floor standing rack enclosure, to house the switch and modem, and do it right.

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post #42 of 58 Old 03-27-2012, 02:17 PM - Thread Starter
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^^ Ah ha! Now you see my dilemma

I think you're right about the floor standing enclosure. Those are great links and pictures, thanks for posting.
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post #43 of 58 Old 03-27-2012, 06:42 PM
 
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I use a three foot a/v rack for my equipment. The Patch panel is made by Nordx. Got everything on eBay back around 2001/2002. I actually got lucky and able to have it under our landing for the stairs going into our basement, with it sitting on a three foot tall Gorilla shelf unit.

The only problem that I have, is that the bottom shelf has become a catch all for extra cat-5e and a dead router and old 10/100 Belkin switch. I only get away with it, due to it is out of sight and the wife never says anything about the box of extra power cords, coax, four keyboards that sit under it on a shelf.
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post #44 of 58 Old 04-01-2012, 08:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post

I use a three foot a/v rack for my equipment. The Patch panel is made by Nordx. Got everything on eBay back around 2001/2002. I actually got lucky and able to have it under our landing for the stairs going into our basement, with it sitting on a three foot tall Gorilla shelf unit.

The only problem that I have, is that the bottom shelf has become a catch all for extra cat-5e and a dead router and old 10/100 Belkin switch. I only get away with it, due to it is out of sight and the wife never says anything about the box of extra power cords, coax, four keyboards that sit under it on a shelf.


Your post got me thinking...

I talked to a friend who deals with this in his profession, and he recommended this Sanus rack. This rack would offer the perfect amount of space for what I have, and for any upgrades. Yeah, it looks industrial, but it's not as bad as a bare rack bolted to the drywall.

My friend recommended just terminating the drops with RJ45 and running straight into the switch. I'm thinking about terminating the drops into a rack mount patch panel, and using short jumpers to connect to the switch. Why? Well, I'm capable enough to terminate to a keystone or patch, but I don't trust myself to actually terminate to RJ45 ends. Am I crazy for adding another piece of gear to the system? Is a more direct connection always going to be better?
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post #45 of 58 Old 04-02-2012, 04:23 PM
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Many manufacturers make small racks, including Middle Atlantic. Also look at Raxxess.

Google LackRack for instructions to add rack rails to an Ikea end table for a small, budget rack.

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post #46 of 58 Old 04-02-2012, 07:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

Many manufacturers make small racks, including Middle Atlantic. Also look at Raxxess.

Yes, I checked out the standalone MA racks, i.e. http://www.middleatlantic.com/enclos...k/laminate.htm They are nice, but can add up $$ pretty quick.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

Google LackRack for instructions to add rack rails to an Ikea end table for a small, budget rack.

Love that idea for LackRack!!

Good suggestions, but I think the Sanus is winning out the fight right now.
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post #47 of 58 Old 04-02-2012, 07:55 PM
 
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I do not even remember who made the rack that I have, but it is a heavy duty steel rack that sits about three feet, and when you break it down, you end up with six pieces, not counting the patch panel and two shelves.
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post #48 of 58 Old 04-02-2012, 10:45 PM
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MA RK laminate rack might be a less industrial and more affordable option, but not cheap. I think Raxxess has a similar laminate rack that's cheaper.

I think Omnimount has one similar to that Sanus.

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post #49 of 58 Old 04-03-2012, 06:00 AM
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Thanks for the LackRack suggestion! I've been looking for a cheap rack solution (missed some great deals on Craigslist) and that would fit the bill perfectly. At the moment I'm using a $15 plastic shelving unit from Lowes that is quite unstable.
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post #50 of 58 Old 04-03-2012, 08:57 AM
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I've never had any furniture from Ikea, so not sure how well-built their stuff is. Can't vouch for the quality.

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post #51 of 58 Old 06-25-2012, 03:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Just in case anyone is still following along, I finally completed my rack project. As a refresher, I had to move all of my computer/networking gear from a spare bedroom, into a study area in a different part of the house. I went ahead and pulled all new Cat6 to this new home run location, and ended up with a 1-gang scoop in the wall, with the runs terminating to a 16-port patch panel.

I ended up with the Sanus rack, it worked out perfect! I also took my old desktop PC (in a big Corsair 800D case, and moved all the contents to a 4U rack-mountable case. So basically, I crammed all my stuff into the Sanus rack, and couldn't be happier with the results. It took quite a bit of work over the course of 4 days, but I'm about 98% done. Just need to tidy up a few more wires, and add a vent fan that will blow out the top of the Sanus case.

Apologies for the crummy iPhone pic, but you get the idea.
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post #52 of 58 Old 06-25-2012, 09:34 PM
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Looking good! Looks almost exactly like my setup. I'm glad I'm not the only one whose patch panel didn't line up with the switch and resorted to two lengths of cable. I actually had to inset everything by a few inches so the door could clear the 8" (or maybe they are 12"?) cables.
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post #53 of 58 Old 06-26-2012, 05:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scl23enn4m3 View Post

Looking good! Looks almost exactly like my setup. I'm glad I'm not the only one whose patch panel didn't line up with the switch and resorted to two lengths of cable. I actually had to inset everything by a few inches so the door could clear the 8" (or maybe they are 12"?) cables.

Thanks!

Actually my patch panel and switch do line up. Those longer runs of cable from the switch go into a brush panel for gear that's inside the rack, not for things that need to go to the patch panel. However I wanted the switch/patch panel/brush panel to be inset a bit to allow for for the length of cables to connect to each of them. It was near-impossible to find a standoff bracket, but I found them via Rack Mount Solutions, and they are local to me! So I just drove down there and picked them up the day I needed them. I also recessed one of the PDUs so I could have plenty of room in case I need to plug stuff in via the front of the rack temporarily.

I was going to buy a bunch of short cables from monoprice to connect the switch to the patch panel, but I got pretty good at making my own via supplies from monoprice. It took me a dozen tries over the course of a few attempts to perfect it, but now I can make a real solid Cat6 patch cable to any length.

Probably the toughest part of the project was just planning on how to use the 15U worth of space. Sounds like a lot, but when you have a few tall items, space gets eaten up quickly. I ended up with a few 1U rear-mounted shelves to hold smaller items like my router (top right) and Mac mini (below that).
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post #54 of 58 Old 06-26-2012, 05:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mapostol View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

Because enclosures are shallow, an angled 12-port patch panel may be better:


Sorry to interrupt with maybe a dumb question. What is the purpose of a patch panel? Why not just have home runs of the ethernet cables right to the switch?


Thanks

MIKE
Because it is the proper and more professional way of doing things.
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post #55 of 58 Old 06-26-2012, 05:56 AM
 
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Sam, do like I did, Place a deep shelf at the bottom, for extras, or if you want to place a NAS or other server at that point, then a shallower shelf up towards the patch panel, for the modem & switch if you do not use a rack mounted switch. I have the patch panel at the top for the modem & switch to sit on. I also used two different colors of patch cords, to designate their use. White for U-Verse equipment, that plugs directly into the RG, and Red for all other networking equipment (BD, PS3, computers, etc), that plugs into the switch.

I penciled in on the label what goes where, so I do not have to use a cheat sheet, to figure that port 12 goes to such and such room. Of course, I only have about 7 ethernet jacks live right now, three are not doing anything, so no patch cords plugged into those jacks.
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post #56 of 58 Old 06-26-2012, 06:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post

Sam, do like I did, Place a deep shelf at the bottom, for extras, or if you want to place a NAS or other server at that point, then a shallower shelf up towards the patch panel, for the modem & switch if you do not use a rack mounted switch. I have the patch panel at the top for the modem & switch to sit on. I also used two different colors of patch cords, to designate their use. White for U-Verse equipment, that plugs directly into the RG, and Red for all other networking equipment (BD, PS3, computers, etc), that plugs into the switch.
I penciled in on the label what goes where, so I do not have to use a cheat sheet, to figure that port 12 goes to such and such room. Of course, I only have about 7 ethernet jacks live right now, three are not doing anything, so no patch cords plugged into those jacks.

Good suggestion, but that won't work in my situation.

My lower 4U (actually 5U because of an exposed CPU fan) is filled with a PC. It extends the full 21" deep between front/back rack rails. Plus, the PC is the heaviest thing in the rack (30lbs?) and it is also on sliding rack rails. So, it needs to be the lowest thing in the rack. Plus, I wanted to keep the hottest things (router, maybe NAS) near the top so my top fan can vent out. Like I said, it took a lot of thinking, on where to put all this. tongue.gif Of course I'm open to all suggestions!

I like your idea about the patch cord colors. I kinda did that a bit... I added some more patch cords after I took this picture, so I have typically white for gear inside the rack, standard gray for all the room drops.

Rack.jpg
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post #57 of 58 Old 06-26-2012, 06:25 PM
 
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Not bad Sam. Looks good.
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post #58 of 58 Old 06-27-2012, 10:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you. I really like my new set-up. I'm glad I did it this way. It was not cheap, and took lots of planning. However, I think I have the infrastructure in place for any foreseeable networking situation in my future.
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