Fiber optic patch panels are also known as fiber distribution panels. Patch panel's function is to terminate the fiber optic cable and provide access to the cable's individual fibers for cross connection.
Fiber patch panel can use fiber patch cables to cross-connect, connect to fiber optic communication equipment or test the individual fibers in the fiber cable.
A fiber patch panel usually is composed of two parts, the compartment that contains fiber adapters (bulkhead receptacles), and the compartment that contains fiber optic splice trays and excess fiber cables.
If you want a even neater cable management, you can also use a fiber patch cable management tray to neatly store and manage excessive fiber patch cable lengths.
Optical fibers from workstations or from other wiring closets terminate in termination boxes. The termination boxes provide a patch point for a small number of connections, but larger installations will have a separate patching location that serves all of the incoming and outgoing fiber cables.
A fiber patch panel consists of an array of duplex SC adapters, hybrid adapters, or Small Form Factor (SFF) jacks. If the entire installation, including the fiber optic hubs, repeaters, or network adapters, uses the same type of fiber optic connectors, then the array can be made of compatible adapters or jacks.
To convert between fiber connector types, you need a hybrid adapter or a conversion cable. A hybrid adapter is a passive coupler that joins two different connector types, while a conversion cable simply has one connector type on one end and the other type on the opposite end.
Fiber patch panels provide a convenient way to rearrange fiber cable connections and circuits. A simple patch panel is a metal frame containing bushings in which fiber optic cable connectors plug in on either side. One side of the panel is usually fixed, meaning that the fiber cables are not intended to be disconnected. On the other side of the panel, fiber cables can be connected and disconnected to arrange the circuits as required.
Fiber optic patch panels are mostly mounted in 19 inch relay racks, but they can also be mounted on freestanding rails, in cabinets and also on walls. For fiber optic cabling installation, you should plan the location of your fiber connectivity hardware carefully, including fiber patch panels. You can choose between direct cross-connection and patch panel. It is also necessary to arrange your routing and dressing of your fiber patch cords if you choose to use fiber panels. In the meantime, you also have a choice to use fiber cable management brackets to avoid the dangling fiber patch cables.
They are used for horizontal cabling as well as lightwave equipment connections. You should plan your cabling layout carefully to arrange these patch panels conveniently for proper fiber patch cable lengths. These two types of panels should be as close to each other as possible.
In large installations, fiber patch location may have several patch panels. They are usually placed side to side, so that fiber patch cables can cross connect directly without climbing the rails in a route across the top of the racks.
Your TR rooms should be planned such that the total cross-connect and patch cable lengths are within TIA-568-C specs. Horizontal fiber links allow a length of up to 10 meters including cross-connect, fiber jumpers, patch cables and patch panels.
If you exceed TIA-568-C fiber length specs, the lightwave equipment may or may not work anymore. So it is extremely important that you take the standard seriously.