As high-density cabling becomes a trend, it is crucial to realize the simple cable installation and tidy cable organization, which can make the network performance achieve high level. It is not difficult to find that in the fiber-based cabling system, intermediate link connections are usually made at fiber patch panels to accommodate reconfigurations. Using fiber patch panels allows for high-density instant device to device connectivity. This article will introduce some basic knowledge about fiber patch panel.
First of all, let’s have a brief overview of fiber patch panel. Fiber patch panel, also known as the fiber distribution panel, is used to terminate the fiber optic cable while providing access to the cable’s individual fibers for cross connection. A fiber patch panel is usually composed of two parts, the compartment that contains fiber adapters, and the compartment that contains fiber optic splice trays and excess fiber cables.
Advantage 1. Fiber patch panel is commonly used as a fiber optic cable management unit. The network technicians can use fiber optic patch cable to cross-connect, connect to fiber optic communication equipment or test the individual fibers in the fiber optic cable.
Advantage 2. Fiber patch panel provides a convenient way to operate fiber optic cable connections by plugging in or pulling out the fiber optic patch cable. And selecting signals, arranging or rearranging the circuits can be easily realized without the use of expensive dedicated switching equipment.
Advantage 3. Fiber patch panel can be an opened box which can create a safe environment for the exposed fibers and fiber optic cables. In the meantime, it can leave a space for fusion splicing and connections of fiber optic adapter components.
Advantage 4. Fiber patch panel can help with the installation of fiber optic cables as well as increase the density of installation. Also, it can provide more convenience for organization and management.
There are three most common components used in fiber patch panel—LC adapter panel, MTP to LC cassette and MTP adapter panel. LC adapter panel is preloaded with LC duplex adapters and it requires trunk cables with LC termination. The LC adapter panel offers the lowest connector loss of any of the patch panel modules. MTP-LC module is also called an MTP to LC cassette and converts MTP trunk cable to LC connections. This module type has LC connectors in front and MTP connectors in back. MTP adapter panel is preloaded with MTP adapters and it supports MTP trunk cable. Each MTP connection supports 8-12 fibers. The MTP adapter panel can easily support 12 MTP connections and 144 fibers or more.
In the 1 rack unit (1RU) patch panel drawn in figure below, LC adapter panel, MTP-LC module and MTP adapter panel are supported. These three types of patch panels support trunk cables terminated with MPO or LC connections. The trunk cables plug in the back of the patch panels and LC or MPO patch cords connect to the front of the patch panel. This modular patch panel architecture enables easy installation and scales well. With standard LC interfaces, this modular patch panel architecture supports 36 LC connections in a 1U patch panel. A 42RU rack full of these patch panel modules can support over one thousand fiber optic ports (42X36 = 1,512 LC ports).
Fiber patch panels are used in fiber optic management. Installing and managing fiber optic links is a tough thing to do because there are several (hundreds or even thousands) fiber optic cables and cable connections to manage. The fiber patch panels help in eliminating all the wire clutter by offering space and protection for all the fiber cables and cable links that are needed to by the technicians in setting fiber optic links. These panels make cable management, as well as troubleshooting work, a lot easier. And I hope after reading this article, you can have a better understanding of fiber patch panel used in cabling system.