Patching a patch panel

You ever wanted to know how to attach your TP cables to a patch panel? Then it’s your lucky day.

I’m definitely no network cable professional but here’s how I do it.

  1. Obviously this requires some TP cables, patch panels and tools. The main tools which are needed is a good cable cutter/scissor and a krone/punch down tool. Make sure your punch down tool has an automatic scissors function. It’ll make your life a bit easier.

    I use quite stiff Cat6 cable that is supposed to be used for fixed attachment inside walls etc. Depending on what you’re up to that might not be ideal.

  2. Begin by removing some of the outer plastic cover of the cable.

  3. It’s important to not damage the wires within. I use this orange tool/knife for this purpose. You spin it around the cable and you’re done. It won’t cut it open, but it’ll make it really easy to twist it off afterwards.

    And they’re off…

  4. In each one of these cables there’s four twisted pairs of wires. Pull them downwards.

  5. Cut of the plastic strip in the middle of the cable.

    Since these cables are supposed to be attached to a patch panel you won’t need to bother cutting off the plastic strip all the way, which you otherwise probably would’ve done when attaching them to 8P8C connectors.

    Not trying to cut it all the way also lessens the risk of damaging the small wires.

  6. Untwist the pairs.

    You probably got some of that plastic shielding left over from when you cut it off in step two. These bits of plastic are actually really handy to use when untwisting the pairs.

  7. This step shows how to easily flatten each wire. This is needed when attaching the wires to an 8P8C connector, but not really in this case. It will simply just waste your time and it might even be somewhat unrecommended because of the increased risk of crosstalk/electromagnetic interference.

    This time I’ll do it nonetheless because it makes the example a bit prettier.

    I use this neat little trick I picked up some time ago to accomplish this.

    Basically you pull the wire between a pen and your thumb, and apply a bit of pressure to it. If you’re about to do this to a lot of wires, I recommend to continue using the cut off plastic pieces from before. Use these simply to protect your thumb, which undoubtedly can sting otherwise.

  8. It’s time to punch down the wires. Which colored wire should be attached where? It varies between different patch panels. Luckily you’ll usually find some label on the panel explaining how they’re supposed to be attached.

    Make sure to shorten the distance between the cable’s plastic shielding and the assembly points, such as that the exposed wires will be as short as possible.

    This might lessen possible impact of electromagnetic interference.

  9. Use your krone tool to punch down the wires.

    Make sure you know where the tool’s scissor is at. Bad things might happen otherwise (I promise you).

    You want to get each punch down right the first time.

    You will be able to loosen a punched down wire, but the quality of that part of the wire will have become worse. It’s also likely that the metal blades within the punch block are only supposed to withstand one single punch down.

  10. Sometimes it might be a good idea to put cable ties in such a way that is shown below. This might decrease the likelihood of the wires being ripped away from the punch blocks in case something is pulling the cables.

  11. Two patch panels done and connected to each other. Testing the connectivity before mounting the panels is probably a good idea in this case.

That’s it. Not really that complicated. These panels had no connectivity problems which means that all 48 punch downs were executed successfully. 🙂

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