Please recommend 12-port patch panel & Cat5e/6 question - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 58 Old 03-24-2012, 08:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

I need to move my ethernet home run to another room in the house. My current home run is a two gang plate with 12 ethernet ports that I installed myself. This is a pretty half-ass way to do it. I need to to it "right", and want a real patch panel. This is of course an existing room, so I'll be cutting drywall, etc.

I think 12 ports will be plenty, as I typically only need on drop to each room. My house is not that big. I see some panels like this, should I be considering something better?

Also, I'm having a tough time deciding on going with a 5e vs. 6 setup. I understand connections, cable, and patch panel has to all be Cat6 for it to get the full benefit of Cat6. The longest runs will be <100ft, and I'm pushing IPTV, streaming music and video throughout the house. I have Cat5e now, with no issues.

Tips and suggestions are definitely appreciated.
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post #2 of 58 Old 03-24-2012, 10:03 AM
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If you just have 12 ports total, the 2-gang wall-plate method is probably neater and more compact. You end up with the same type of punchdown connections either way.

If you want something more industrial looking, something like this rackmount panel, perhaps? Along with a wall-mount 2U or 4U rack bracket.
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post #3 of 58 Old 03-24-2012, 06:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petern View Post

If you just have 12 ports total, the 2-gang wall-plate method is probably neater and more compact. You end up with the same type of punchdown connections either way.

If you want something more industrial looking, something like this rackmount panel, perhaps? Along with a wall-mount 2U or 4U rack bracket.

Thanks. The 2 gang wall plate I use now doesn't have a strip for the punch downs, you just terminate into female connections that snap in the plate. It's seems so half-assed. I want something that is compact, but more sturdy than the method I use now.

Any thoughts about Cat5e vs. Cat6? This is my one chance to re-do all the drops to the rooms in the house.
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post #4 of 58 Old 03-24-2012, 06:38 PM
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If you're running new wire anyway then do Cat6. If not then I'd just leave the Cat5e.
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post #5 of 58 Old 03-24-2012, 06:44 PM
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Why not get a switch? Most of them have key hole brackets for wall mounting.
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post #6 of 58 Old 03-24-2012, 06:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam S View Post

Thanks. The 2 gang wall plate I use now doesn't have a strip for the punch downs, you just terminate into female connections that snap in the plate. It's seems so half-assed. I want something that is compact, but more sturdy than the method I use now.

Any thoughts about Cat5e vs. Cat6? This is my one chance to re-do all the drops to the rooms in the house.

You are not going to find anything "compact". In the proper termination of Networking, you use a Patch Panel to take all of the runs to, then from there have patch cords to connect to the switch. Either stick with plates that can accept six keystones, or go with the patch panel, which is the better method of terminating. As for Cat-6, really overkill in a home network, since Cat-5e will handle one gig networking just fine.
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post #7 of 58 Old 03-24-2012, 08:06 PM
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For home networking - yes Cat6 is overkill. However, it can give better results in home A/V distribution.
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post #8 of 58 Old 03-24-2012, 08:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljo000 View Post

If you're running new wire anyway then do Cat6. If not then I'd just leave the Cat5e.

It's just as easy for me to pull new wire, since I'm changing the home run from one side of the house to the other. Most of the drops to the rooms will need longer runs.

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Originally Posted by ifor View Post

Why not get a switch? Most of them have key hole brackets for wall mounting.

I have a 10/100/1000 24 port D-Link switch that is my main switch. That will go in the same room as the new home run. The other rooms each have a Netgear 8-port Gigabit switch. I want something tidy to connect the switch to the room drops.

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Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post

You are not going to find anything "compact". In the proper termination of Networking, you use a Patch Panel to take all of the runs to, then from there have patch cords to connect to the switch. Either stick with plates that can accept six keystones, or go with the patch panel, which is the better method of terminating. As for Cat-6, really overkill in a home network, since Cat-5e will handle one gig networking just fine.

Yes, I'm using 12 keystones from my 24 port switch now. I had a feeling Cat6 might be overkill. Each room does get IPTV via AT&T U-verse, and I'm starting to put in some 1080p Apple TVs, but I don't think those will ever max out Cat5e.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ljo000 View Post

For home networking - yes Cat6 is overkill. However, it can give better results in home A/V distribution.

See above for what I'm doing. IPTV is a must, but I know that works fine with Cat5e. I do some music distribution, but I don't know of any home-use scenario where I'd run into the limitations of Cat5e. If I'm missing something, please let me know. This is a one-time project!
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post #9 of 58 Old 03-24-2012, 08:55 PM
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I'm using a 12 port patch panel similar to the one you linked. It came with blank keystones - bought separately.

Whether you punch down to a keystone or to the back of the patch panel, I don't think it makes a difference.

I think a step up would be a wall mount relay rack, with hinged patch panel(s).

Google Hoffman wall mount rack for an idea, many other depths available, and from many manufacturers.

Member Tehnique at cocoontech forums did something similar, with pics.

http://cocoontech.com/forums/topic/1...iring-project/

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post #10 of 58 Old 03-24-2012, 09:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam S View Post

See above for what I'm doing. IPTV is a must, but I know that works fine with Cat5e. I do some music distribution, but I don't know of any home-use scenario where I'd run into the limitations of Cat5e. If I'm missing something, please let me know. This is a one-time project!

I was more referring to distributing HDMI video through the house in case you wanted to co-locate A/V sources and distribute to multiple displays. HDMI extenders using Cat5e/Cat6 are perfect for this. Who knows what spec is 5rs down the road too. As long as you are pulling new cable, you may as well do Cat6. It doesn't cost much more and its all backwards compatible anyway...
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post #11 of 58 Old 03-25-2012, 06:24 AM
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I went back and re-read thread.

You, Sam S, want a professional-looking patch panel. In the closet? For all your room drops? 12, is it?

You should us an enclosure. With proper cable management in the enclosure, you can re-use your 12 port patch panel, with the D89 bracket. Or, use 1 or more patch panels from the enclosure manufacturer, e.g. Leviton, OnQ, that snap into the holes in the enclosure.

Or, use a wall mount rack.

Think about all the equipment you want in the closet, and choose accordingly.

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post #12 of 58 Old 03-25-2012, 06:27 AM
 
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They will never max out over Cat-5e. It can only go as fast as the switch that you have in the mix.
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post #13 of 58 Old 03-25-2012, 06:29 AM
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Mount the 12 port patch panel in an enclosure, near the top. The category cable bundle enters the enclosure from a knock-out, and immediately runs underneath the top of the patch panel, and each is punched down. You would only see the cable bundle for an inch or 2. It can look very professional, especially with the enclosure closed.

Look for enclosure pics at cocoontech forums and gallery pages. Lots of options.

This is a google image search of cocoontech for the word 'enclosure':

http://www.google.com/search?q=site:...FIHetgeKooi5Bg

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post #14 of 58 Old 03-25-2012, 06:40 AM
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Depending on what other equipment you have in the closet, a wall-mount rack enclosure may be a nice option. Tripp Lite makes many, in different depths.



Conceal your cable slack behind the drywall ('service loops'), in case you need to make changes down the road.

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post #15 of 58 Old 03-25-2012, 12:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

I'm using a 12 port patch panel similar to the one you linked. It came with blank keystones - bought separately.

Whether you punch down to a keystone or to the back of the patch panel, I don't think it makes a difference.

I think a step up would be a wall mount relay rack, with hinged patch panel(s).

Google Hoffman wall mount rack for an idea, many other depths available, and from many manufacturers.

Member Tehnique at cocoontech forums did something similar, with pics.

http://cocoontech.com/forums/topic/1...iring-project/

Wow, that fellow did a nice job, and gave me some ideas.

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Originally Posted by ljo000 View Post

I was more referring to distributing HDMI video through the house in case you wanted to co-locate A/V sources and distribute to multiple displays. HDMI extenders using Cat5e/Cat6 are perfect for this. Who knows what spec is 5rs down the road too. As long as you are pulling new cable, you may as well do Cat6. It doesn't cost much more and its all backwards compatible anyway...

Seems like Cat6 will only run me about $50 more in wire/keystones, so I'm leaning towards that route.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

I went back and re-read thread.

You, Sam S, want a professional-looking patch panel. In the closet? For all your room drops? 12, is it?

You should us an enclosure. With proper cable management in the enclosure, you can re-use your 12 port patch panel, with the D89 bracket. Or, use 1 or more patch panels from the enclosure manufacturer, e.g. Leviton, OnQ, that snap into the holes in the enclosure.

Or, use a wall mount rack.

Think about all the equipment you want in the closet, and choose accordingly.

Well, I'm actually re-purposing a mini-bar in our house to be a small home office. As such, there is no dedicated closet I can use for the big switch and panel. So, I was thinking of putting the panel/drop about 2-3ft off the ground, where it will be hidden by a desk. The switch can sit in the desk or somewhere out of the way, but I'm definitely not going with a real rack type installation. EDIT: well, I take that back. If there was some very small wall mount type rack where I could put the panel and the big switch, that would probably make sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post

They will never max out over Cat-5e. It can only go as fast as the switch that you have in the mix.

I have a 24 port GigE switch, and each room uses 8 port GigE switch. That should cover me, right? Assume I use Cat6 patch cables where needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

Mount the 12 port patch panel in an enclosure, near the top. The category cable bundle enters the enclosure from a knock-out, and immediately runs underneath the top of the patch panel, and each is punched down. You would only see the cable bundle for an inch or 2. It can look very professional, especially with the enclosure closed.

Look for enclosure pics at cocoontech forums and gallery pages. Lots of options.

This is a google image search of cocoontech for the word 'enclosure':

http://www.google.com/search?q=site:...FIHetgeKooi5Bg

Thank you. That will let me spend some time getting some ideas. A stand-off enclosure for the panel might be just the ticket.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

Depending on what other equipment you have in the closet, a wall-mount rack enclosure may be a nice option. Tripp Lite makes many, in different depths.



Conceal your cable slack behind the drywall ('service loops'), in case you need to make changes down the road.

I have the 24 port GigE switch, but that does not necessarily need to be mounted directly near the panel. I can always put the switch in a desk or somewhere and run patch cables to the panel. I need to figure out something a bit better for power. I'm definitely going to have an electrician out to run dual 20 amp dedicated sockets for this room.


A few more questions:

1) What is the best way to attach Cat6 to an existing Cat5e cable for when I need to re-pull my drops? Electrical tape snags, and I don't trust it. Isn't there something that could crimp to cables together for pulling purposes?

2) Same question as above but for pull string. I have one room where I just ran a string. I wasn't sure if I could even make the drop, so I just did it with string before I tried with a real cable.

3) Does any place make a 90 degree keystone? For my drop in the living room, it comes out at a place where a 90 deg drop straight down will look better aesthetically.

4) Is there an inexpensive Cat6 cable tester you can recommend for when I make my drops? I'm no pro at keystone terminations, but have done a few, including most of the Cat5e drops in my home.
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post #16 of 58 Old 03-25-2012, 06:53 PM
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I've only used electrical tape, and a ton of it, for attaching cables to cables, string to cables, and cables/string to fiberglass rod.

If you wrap the tape with a tapered end, and double up the string between tape wraps, you should be good.

You never want put too much pull force on a category cable, as I feel it's pretty delicate. But, I've had to pull extremely hard on some, and haven't had an issue yet, with a damaged cable, after several thousand feet.

Always useful to have a second pair of hands.

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post #17 of 58 Old 03-26-2012, 06:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

I've only used electrical tape, and a ton of it, for attaching cables to cables, string to cables, and cables/string to fiberglass rod.

If you wrap the tape with a tapered end, and double up the string between tape wraps, you should be good.

You never want put too much pull force on a category cable, as I feel it's pretty delicate. But, I've had to pull extremely hard on some, and haven't had an issue yet, with a damaged cable, after several thousand feet.

Always useful to have a second pair of hands.

Gotcha.

Any ideas for a keystone jack with a right angle to it? A search came up with nothing. How about a cheap tester?
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post #18 of 58 Old 03-26-2012, 08:05 AM
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I bought a Monoprice tester that has worked very well for Cat5e and should work perfectly well for Cat6 too: RJ-11 and RJ-45 Modular Plug Tester
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post #19 of 58 Old 03-26-2012, 08:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljo000 View Post

I bought a Monoprice tester that has worked very well for Cat5e and should work perfectly well for Cat6 too: RJ-11 and RJ-45 Modular Plug Tester

Wow, that is cheap! I found this one on Amazon and it appears to be similar.

I thought I had read that Cat6 needed extra testing compared to Cat5e.

And back to my original question... Maybe I could use a 12 port punch down panel (wall mounted?) and put something like this directly next to it?

http://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-O...2775988&sr=8-1

My only concerns with a open rack wall mount unit are:

1) It's ugly
2) I only need to mount my 24 port switch and something for power (currently sitting on a desk shelf)
3) It's ugly
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post #20 of 58 Old 03-26-2012, 09:07 AM
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You won't find, I don't think, a right angle UTP connector. Supposed to avoid sharp bends - reduces performance.

A hinged wall mount rack, or hinged patch panel, would be slightly easier. Hinge allows it to swing to the side, or down, for easier rear access.

You can use cover plates to cover the patch cables.



Many wall-mount enclosure options, to completely conceal.

The Middle Atlantic WRP Low-Profile Wall Cabinets, or something like them, allows room for a switch and the patch panel.

I think they can be recessed/flush mounted too.


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post #21 of 58 Old 03-26-2012, 09:15 AM
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I've used an Ideal brand UTP tester, ~$20 from HD, with good success.

Commercial and high-end resi installers use a Fluke-branded tester, or similar, which is thousands of dollars. It measures performance, and not just crossed wires and discontinuity.

Edit - looks like the Ideal brand tester has gone up in price, ~$50.

http://www.buy.com/pr/product.aspx?s...lerid=19411471

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post #22 of 58 Old 03-26-2012, 10:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

You won't find, I don't think, a right angle UTP connector. Supposed to avoid sharp bends - reduces performance.

Damn. I was hoping a keystone that already had a right angle built in. But I do understand why the bend is bad. I'll just have to make do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

A hinged wall mount rack, or hinged patch panel, would be slightly easier. Hinge allows it to swing to the side, or down, for easier rear access.

You can use cover plates to cover the patch cables.

That's a bit more than I'd need, but now I'm seriously considering the following layout:

1) Service loop/pull out of the wall with ~10 category cables. Run into..
2) Sixteen port rackmount patch panel which feeds into:
3) Existing D-Link DGS-1024D GigE switch
4) Powered by something like this.
5) All bolted to an open frame wall mount.

If all of the above sounds reasonable, how do I make the service pull of category cable coming out of the drywall look tidy? I'd rather not leave a 4" hole in the wall behind the wall-mounted rack. Should I just stick with an in-wall feed through panel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

I've used an Ideal brand UTP tester, ~$20 from HD, with good success.

Commercial and high-end resi installers use a Fluke-branded tester, or similar, which is thousands of dollars. It measures performance, and not just crossed wires and discontinuity.

Edit - looks like the Ideal brand tester has gone up in price, ~$50.

http://www.buy.com/pr/product.aspx?s...lerid=19411471

Thanks. That gives me an idea of what price range and device type I should be looking for.
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post #23 of 58 Old 03-26-2012, 10:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

You won't find, I don't think, a right angle UTP connector. Supposed to avoid sharp bends - reduces performance.

Found this: http://www.tech-tent.com/p-3799-cat6...lack-12ft.aspx

Think performance will suffer?
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post #24 of 58 Old 03-26-2012, 01:50 PM
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I doubt you'll see any performance issues. But, you can always switch to a straight connector if that angled doesn't work.

I've seen some connectors with a milder bend, less than 90 degrees.

What is this 90 degree connector going to feed? That is, why 90 degrees? Can you move the plate, so it's hidden? I understand that may involve drywall repair and painting, and may require pulling a new cable, but it may be an option, if you're pulling new cables anyway. Extending a category cable, with a connector and patch cable, isn't 'accepted practice', but I think it's done commonly in the real world. I try to avoid it myself at home but I see it done where I work in a commercial environment by 'pro installers' (when nobody will notice it). Note: you shouldn't drywall over any connectors or splices, as they may need troubleshooting or may fail.

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post #25 of 58 Old 03-26-2012, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

I doubt you'll see any performance issues. But, you can always switch to a straight connector if that angled doesn't work.

I've seen some connectors with a milder bend, less than 90 degrees.

What is this 90 degree connector going to feed? That is, why 90 degrees? Can you move the plate, so it's hidden? I understand that may involve drywall repair and painting, and may require pulling a new cable, but it may be an option, if you're pulling new cables anyway. Extending a category cable, with a connector and patch cable, isn't 'accepted practice', but I think it's done commonly in the real world. I try to avoid it myself at home but I see it done where I work in a commercial environment by 'pro installers' (when nobody will notice it). Note: you shouldn't drywall over any connectors or splices, as they may need troubleshooting or may fail.

Would you believe me if I told you I spent 6 hours this weekend just getting the drop to the spot where it is right now? It's on an outside wall, with no attic above, and of course located between two studs. I realize I could cut out dry wall and go horizontally a few feet over through some studs, but I consider that major work/repair, so it's out of the question for me

Additional comments appreciated on my equipment scenario described in post #22, above!
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post #26 of 58 Old 03-26-2012, 06:18 PM
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How many outlets do you need? I count 1.

What will the patch cables run to? How will you run the patch cable from your router to your patch panel?

That wall mount rack is meant for a closet. It wouldn't look good in an office.

Mull the decision over for a week. First thoughts are often correct, but sometimes not.

Think about the future, what you might like to do eventually. Any more cables planned? What about resale? Do you think the router might be better in the rack/enclosure, with the switch? What about the modem? Wireless coverage good? Considering an access point or 2 down the road?

Any 'spouse acceptance factor' to consider?

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post #27 of 58 Old 03-26-2012, 06:19 PM
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If the wall mount rack you choose doesn't come with a pass through, you could consider a 'nose' or scoop pass through.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha

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post #28 of 58 Old 03-27-2012, 05:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

How many outlets do you need? I count 1.

I was leaning towards having dual 20amp circuits dropped. I have two laser printers, and a big desktop that really sucks down the juice.

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What will the patch cables run to? How will you run the patch cable from your router to your patch panel?

Patch cables will run to my existing 24-port GigE D-Link switch. I will put the router next to the switch.

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That wall mount rack is meant for a closet. It wouldn't look good in an office.

Yes, I know Even if I found a closet to stick some of this stuff in, I would be concerned about ventilation.

[quote=Neurorad;21831849]Mull the decision over for a week. First thoughts are often correct, but sometimes not.

Yes, exactly!

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Think about the future, what you might like to do eventually. Any more cables planned? What about resale? Do you think the router might be better in the rack/enclosure, with the switch? What about the modem? Wireless coverage good? Considering an access point or 2 down the road?

12 drops would be plenty. I think I'm only using 7 now, one to each room with an 8-port switch in each room. Even if I need one for in IP thermostat/etc., I should be OK. Resale of the house? Not too concerned about that at this point. When I moved in, there were zero Cat5 drops, so I'm ahead of the game! The modem (U-verse gateway) will go next to the switch/drops/etc. Wifi coverage is good, via Cisco WAP-4410N access point. I considered getting a second one, but this one reaches all areas of the house, including outside, without a problem. I was planning on sticking it next to the switch/etc.

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Any 'spouse acceptance factor' to consider?

Definitely. Which is why I'm moving this whole mess out of a spare bedroom, and into a dedicated home office. I do have to share this new space with my wife, so the better it looks, the happier she'll be. A big 12U black metal rack is not going to be her favorite thing hanging off the wall in the house

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If the wall mount rack you choose doesn't come with a pass through, you could consider a 'nose' or scoop pass through.

I think I know what you mean. So just pull the service loop ends through a scoop pass through and run it straight into the switch? I thought a punch down panel would look cleaner. Doesn't this kind of punch down panel mount directly into drywall?
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post #29 of 58 Old 03-27-2012, 08:09 AM
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That 12 port patch panel you linked is designed to be mounted in an enclosure. The picture shows what looks like the white D89 bracket behind it - but the description doesn't mention it. The patch panel is sometimes sold without the D89 bracket.

I am using that same patch panel design, but I bought the one with keystone inserts. If a connector goes bad, I can replace it. And, I have a mix of cat5e and cat6 - not a huge issue, I now realize.

That patch panel will stand off the wall a couple inches, supported by the D89 bracket.



I suggest you use a more attractive, flush mount enclosure, instead, if you really want to use that 12 port patch panel. Enclosures come in a variety of sizes, and are usually designed to fit between 2 studs. The cable bundle could exit the enclosure through a bottom knock-out (hole in the enclosure), and then pass through a scoop or grommet mounted in the drywall below it.

Make sure the stud bay doesn't have any light switches on the other side of the wall. Start with a small-ish hole, and look inside.



I'd choose an enclosure that doesn't say 'Open House,' or anything else on it. Some have a hinged and/or locked cover. You cut the drywall, drop it in, and screw it to the adjacent studs. Easy to hardwire the outlet, within the enclosure, if there is an existing outlet below. Enclosures may be steel or plastic, and can be surface-mounted on the drywall, or flush-mounted/recessed (much more attractive).







If you choose your enclosure wisely, you'll have enough room for a replacement switch, when your current switch craps out. The enclosure should have one or more rectangular knock-outs at the bottom, for an outlet or 2, to supply items in the enclosure (switch, modem, router). You could also mount an AC strip in the enclosure, if you need more outlets. You shouldn't see any cables, using a flush mount (recessed) enclosure.

Make sure there aren't any obstructions in the stud bay - light switch on other side of wall. Start with a small-ish hole that's easy to patch, to look for pipes.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha

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post #30 of 58 Old 03-27-2012, 08:15 AM
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Here is a typical installed enclosure:



And more:








Cocoontech.com forums are a great resource for LV enclosures.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha

Give a monkey a brain and he'll swear he's the center of the universe. -Fishbone
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