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Birmingham, AL

[Other] Patch Panel necessary or not?

I'm wanting to set up a small(12-18u) server rack for my home network. The order I'm considering would be incoming DSL signal to 2wire Gateway(in DMZplus mode) to Linksys WRT54G to 24 port 3com hub. I'll probably have a total of 8 devices hooked to the patch panel. In browsing around I've seen that a lot of people use patch panels in their setups. My house was built in the 1980s and as a result it has no ethernet wall outlets, only phone jacks(doesn't even have CATV jacks). As a result I've just been using pre-assembled patch cables to cover the length from my router to what ever device I'm connecting to my network; for example, if I need to connect something 20ft away I'll just buy a 25ft section of Cat5 with the ends already attached and then just run it to that device by drilling a small hole from the basement into whatever area I need to run the cable. It sounds messy but I've routed things in a tidy way. I don't plan on installing wall outlets for ethernet since it would be fairly complicated to do in this house.

In my case, is it OK to skip the patch panel and just connect directly to my 24 port hub? Or will I get frowned upon for doing so ? I've got all of my cables color-coded.

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Stone Mountain, GA

1 recommendation

If you are using patch cables, the you don't need a patch panel.

A patch panel is for converting fixed wired connections using solid wire to flexible patch cables (stranded wires).


Birmingham, AL
Thanks for the response!

I figured I probably wouldn't need one but I just wanted to be sure since they seem so common in home network setups.

San Jose, CA
·AT&T U-Verse
reply to securityguy
said by securityguy:

... to 24 port 3com hub.

I hope that's a typo and you meant 24-port switch.

BTW I also used premade patch cables in my house, since at the time I didn't know anything about cable termination. Now I do know how to do it, but using premade is so much easier.


Birmingham, AL
I meant switch, haha. Don't know why I typed hub.

I would be all for installing wall outlets but the hassle of doing it on an older house kind of outweighs the benefits for me. While not necessarily "like a pro would do it" the pre-made cables are convenient and can still look good if they are routed and hidden properly. I also use a different color of Cat5 cable for each run I have to make so I don't get things confused.

Thanks again for the info.


Calgary, AB
reply to securityguy
Although probably something you probably will never encounter, one of the benefits of a patch panel and wall plates over just a patch cable:

Say you run a cable from your tv over to a router in another room. Now say someone were to trip over the cable, or pull a piece of equipment out of your tv stand with it attached and pull the end off, you would need to replace the whole cable. If you had a patch panel and wall plates, worst case scenario you replace a small cable between the panel/plate and the device, MAYBE have to replace the jack on the place. Both are easier than running a whole new cable.

For what it's worth, when I bought my house (built in the 70s), I wired 46 Ethernet drops in the walls, terminated at a 48 port patch panel below the breaker box and wall plates in each room. It wasn't THAT much work to do it nicely.