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#372127 - 08/07/2019 13:52 Patch panel vs keystone?
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12195
Loc: Sterling, VA
(separating this from my other thread)

What would you folks recommend for a patch panel for an office with ~100 data lines (two lines per wall drop - not sure if they're planning for voip at some point)? I was initially going to to a standard punch-down panel, but now I'm considering actually going with a keystone panel. It's more expensive, but there seem to be more advantages. I can move lines around more easily. I don't need to keep track of which line is which in the closet when I'm running the cables (just terminate and track them down later with my tester tool and multiple probes). If they decide on a different organization of the lines in the future they can all be moved around. If one port goes bad I can simply swap out the keystone. I can color-code the lines for data, cameras, etc. And most importantly to me, I've always found punchdowns at the patch panel to be extremely annoying and tiring. Keystones are much easier and more ergonomic, IMO.


Edited by Dignan (08/07/2019 13:53)
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Matt

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#372128 - 08/07/2019 14:11 Re: Patch panel vs keystone? [Re: Dignan]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14178
Loc: Canada
I'm not a pro in that biz, but I do prefer keystone panels for ease of end-user reconfiguration. Hereabouts, they cost about CAD$2 per RJ45 jack, so the cost isn't really a factor.

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#372130 - 08/07/2019 14:15 Re: Patch panel vs keystone? [Re: Dignan]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14178
Loc: Canada
Or more specifically, I suppose the panels I am familiar with are not actually "keystone", but rather banks of rj45 jacks with punch posts on the backside. Photo attached from our home.

Edit: I get my stuff from a nearly "local" wholesale supplier: http://www.computerplug.com/nav.php?cat1=Networking&cat2=Patch_Panels_and_Accessories The 12-port CAT5E panels I use are about CAD$22 each; a 96-port CAT6 panel sells for about CAD$200.


Attachments
rj45_patch_panel.jpg

Description: The rj45 patch panels I use here.




Edited by mlord (08/07/2019 14:31)

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#372131 - 08/07/2019 14:27 Re: Patch panel vs keystone? [Re: Dignan]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12195
Loc: Sterling, VA
Those are the kind I didn't like laugh

What are you paying $2/jack for in that photo? Doesn't it come as one 12-port punchdown panel?

The keystone panels I'm talking about are like this one. Just a piece of metal and nothing more. I actually wish they didn't all come with numbers on them. I'll probably tape over those. I just prefer to punch down all the cables in my hand, rather than doing it at-height at the rack. If you're lucky you're dealing with a hinged rack and it just swings out. I don't like the "mount it 1U down and backwards then flip it up" thing. Either way, especially when you start getting to the rack-mounted 24-port (or god forbid 48 port) panels, I can't seem to get the cable tension right. And heaven help you if you don't punch down one wire fully and now you have to get behind a bunch of others.

I'd rather just terminate a bunch of keystones and plug them in wherever I want.

There's also these, where it's just a keystone coupler in each port, and you terminate every cable with a standard RJ45 end. This might be my least favorite option, as I really hate terminating RJ45 if I have to do more than about 4 ends in a sitting.
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Matt

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#372132 - 08/07/2019 14:40 Re: Patch panel vs keystone? [Re: Dignan]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14178
Loc: Canada
I've edited my original reply with more info (price etc).

If nearly everything needed will be RJ45 jacks, then I find the style I have been using works well. The keystone ones come more into their own when mixing different connnector types. And as you say, for regrouping jacks as appropriate after initial punchdown.

I suppose keystone panels could be easier when adding more jacks as well? Not sure.

As for the double keystone ones (front/back RJ45s), I would wonder about the higher potential for poor contacts (double the normal odds..).

Cheers!


Edited by mlord (08/07/2019 14:40)

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#372133 - 08/07/2019 14:43 Re: Patch panel vs keystone? [Re: Dignan]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14178
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Dignan
.. I really hate terminating RJ45 if I have to do more than about 4 ends in a sitting.


For RJ45 terminations, years ago I switched from run-of-the-mill style connectors to the EZ-RJ connectors (and tool). Much, much faster.
https://www.amazon.com/Platinum-Tools-EZ-RJ45-Crimp-RJ-11/dp/B00084Y1ZI/
https://www.amazon.com/Platinum-Tools-100010C-Connectors-Clamshell/dp/B000FI9VU2/


Attachments
ezrj.jpg

Description: EZRJ connectors




Edited by mlord (08/07/2019 14:49)

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#372138 - 08/07/2019 18:52 Re: Patch panel vs keystone? [Re: Dignan]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12195
Loc: Sterling, VA
I've been using those too and it definitely makes things much easier, though the connectors are more expensive.

Yeah those front/back connector models don't make sense to me unless for some reason you already have a bundle of terminated cables.
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Matt

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#372153 - 13/07/2019 13:55 Re: Patch panel vs keystone? [Re: Dignan]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2429
Loc: Roma, Italy
This is the patch panel I am using at home, by far the simplest to wire and terminate.

https://www.amazon.it/gp/product/B06X9VBTBD/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I am sure you can go back to Amazon US for a similar product.

Please notice the very nice wiring caps. You place cables on the patch panel, place the cups on them, rotate to screw the cap in, and, in so doing, to perfectly push the cable in place and insure electric contact is OK.

It never failed me, personally. I tend to hate the other types I found/used. Not a pro with this, but I have used quite a few of them.

Edit: and I have seen so many pros struggle with more traditional patch panels. I got everything right with this, first time I used it. I kept using this since then.


Edited by Taym (13/07/2019 13:56)
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= Taym =
MK2a #040103216 * 100Gb *All/Colors* Radio * 3.0a11 * Hijack = taympeg

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#372154 - 16/07/2019 02:19 Re: Patch panel vs keystone? [Re: Taym]
K447
old hand

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 735
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Taym
... by far the simplest to wire and terminate.

https://www.amazon.it/gp/product/B06X9VBTBD/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I am sure you can go back to Amazon US for a similar product.

Please notice the very nice wiring caps. You place cables on the patch panel, place the cups on them, rotate to screw the cap in, and, in so doing, to perfectly push the cable in place and insure electric contact is OK. ...
I am not finding anything similar on Amazon.com

Nor am I finding any details on how the ‘wiring caps’ actually work.

What brand/company actually makes these patch panels?

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#372159 - 18/07/2019 16:34 Re: Patch panel vs keystone? [Re: Dignan]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2429
Loc: Roma, Italy
I'll try to take a picture of it, tonight, once I am home. At the time I remember finding various brands (all unknown to me) using this system. But, I made a quick search now and I can't find any.
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= Taym =
MK2a #040103216 * 100Gb *All/Colors* Radio * 3.0a11 * Hijack = taympeg

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#372160 - 19/07/2019 10:57 Re: Patch panel vs keystone? [Re: Dignan]
ghostwheel
new poster

Registered: 18/07/2001
Posts: 40
Loc: Koblenz, Germany
I'm always using keystone (even at home) - the ports are easier to assemble and the shielding is very good (especially when using higher data rates as 2.5GbE to 10GbE).

Alex

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#372162 - 20/07/2019 15:54 Re: Patch panel vs keystone? [Re: Taym]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2429
Loc: Roma, Italy
Originally Posted By: Taym
I'll try to take a picture of it, tonight, once I am home. At the time I remember finding various brands (all unknown to me) using this system. But, I made a quick search now and I can't find any.


No brand or model anywhere! Sorry. I took a number of pics for you to see. I’ll tru to post them later or tomorrow. Hopefully they’ll help u find similar products.
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= Taym =
MK2a #040103216 * 100Gb *All/Colors* Radio * 3.0a11 * Hijack = taympeg

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#372163 - 20/07/2019 16:08 Re: Patch panel vs keystone? [Re: Taym]
K447
old hand

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 735
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Taym

No brand or model anywhere ...

Have a close look on the molded plastic of an unused/spare connector. Sometimes there will be a tiny logo or part number/name embossed into the plastic mold.

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#372164 - 21/07/2019 13:56 Re: Patch panel vs keystone? [Re: Dignan]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2429
Loc: Roma, Italy
Some pics. Not sure this helps, but...


Attachments
20190719_164032858_iOS.jpg (37 downloads)
20190719_164055783_iOS.jpg (35 downloads)
20190719_164104170_iOS.jpg (30 downloads)
20190719_164122840_iOS.jpg (31 downloads)
20190719_164136660_iOS.jpg (30 downloads)
20190719_164342951_iOS.jpg (29 downloads)

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= Taym =
MK2a #040103216 * 100Gb *All/Colors* Radio * 3.0a11 * Hijack = taympeg

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#372165 - 22/07/2019 02:56 Re: Patch panel vs keystone? [Re: Taym]
K447
old hand

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 735
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
So, no logo or name anywhere frown

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#372166 - 22/07/2019 10:09 Re: Patch panel vs keystone? [Re: Dignan]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2429
Loc: Roma, Italy
Nope. Sorry.

Funny thing is that when I bought this (2 years ago, I realized by looking at my Amazon order) I remember there were few other patch panels all with a similar system. Nothing now. That is unfortunate. I really like the system.
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= Taym =
MK2a #040103216 * 100Gb *All/Colors* Radio * 3.0a11 * Hijack = taympeg

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#372167 - 22/07/2019 10:15 Re: Patch panel vs keystone? [Re: Dignan]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2429
Loc: Roma, Italy
Anyway, as you could see, cable goes through the cap center hole, then individual wires are separated and go into their specific place, still in the cap. Then you cut the part of the wire that sticks out. Then, finally, you place the whole "assembly" (cable + cap) on the patch panel - a notch will guide you and insure proper positioning - and finally you twist the rotating part of the cap. That will screw the assembly in place, and press the cables and insure electric contact. I've done this quite a few times and it never failed.
I am really surprised there's no company to own/patent/brand/sell this. It's a clever product and using it is faster than explaining it in words.

Oh well.


edit: unless there's some weakness I am not aware of, but I've been using it for two years without issues. It's CAT6, supposedly, and I do get 1Gbps full speed on virtually anything connected to it (NAS, servers, APs, etc.).


Edited by Taym (22/07/2019 10:17)
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= Taym =
MK2a #040103216 * 100Gb *All/Colors* Radio * 3.0a11 * Hijack = taympeg

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#372176 - 30/07/2019 21:39 Re: Patch panel vs keystone? [Re: Dignan]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12195
Loc: Sterling, VA
That's a really neat mechanism! If I had to take a stab at why it didn't catch on, I'd say there's a few reasons. The main one is that it's just...different. There's really only two standards in this area that I can tell, the usual punch-down patch panel and the keystone version. The keystone has probably only caught on because it was a popular standard at the drop end, so instead of ordering 100 keystones to terminate your wall plates, you just ordered 200 to terminate the patch panel too. Keystones offer the advantage of being able to move the jacks around a bit if necessary, and identify the line before positioning it in the rack.

Also, while I know you haven't had trouble, I could see that mechanism not working 100% of the time. Maybe a wire doesn't quite get seated properly when the cap is turned or something. I've tried "no tool" keystone jacks before, and they never work quite right. This one looks better but still might have issues.

I went with keystones everywhere and I'm happy with the decision. It's easy to get in a rhythm when terminating those, and the other advantages I mentioned made it kind of a no-brainer. I mostly started this thread to see if there was some obvious thing I was completely missing, but I don't get that sense.
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Matt

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#372179 - 31/07/2019 13:36 Re: Patch panel vs keystone? [Re: Dignan]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14178
Loc: Canada
My favourite (and most reliable) keystone jacks are a tool-less variety. Never a failed connection, whereas (oddly) I have had a couple of failures with punch down style.

But I don't do nearly as many connections as perhaps Matt does, so small sample size here!

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#372191 - 07/08/2019 20:43 Re: Patch panel vs keystone? [Re: Dignan]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12195
Loc: Sterling, VA
I've pulled the lines. It took forever. I need to hire people.

But here's before:


Attachments
IMG_4059.JPG


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Matt

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#372192 - 07/08/2019 20:43 Re: Patch panel vs keystone? [Re: Dignan]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12195
Loc: Sterling, VA
And here's after:


Attachments
IMG_4161.JPG


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Matt

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#372193 - 08/08/2019 01:57 Re: Patch panel vs keystone? [Re: Dignan]
K447
old hand

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 735
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Dignan
I've pulled the lines. It took forever. ...
Did I mention this Sandman telecom installer web store?

Back when Mike Sandman was still running the place it used to have a lot more unique tools and products for telecom and related wiring. I suspect you might find some of their tools and tips helpful. There are also several install tips videos hidden way down at the bottom of that page.

One tool that seems to no longer be offered is a slingshot rig that fired a thin ‘string’ across the open space above a tiled ceiling (typical office ceiling). Open up a ceiling tile at one end, aim way across the space and shoot the tethered ball quite far. Then attach the actual cable(s) and pull it back across.

Much faster than using fiberglass rods. Although some of their rods are quite nice.

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#372195 - 08/08/2019 14:50 Re: Patch panel vs keystone? [Re: Dignan]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12195
Loc: Sterling, VA
Thanks! I'll check the store out, especially for tips. They seem to be really pushing low voltage boxes which are plentiful at any home store for less so that may be a miss-step on their part.

I actually have a little gun that fires glow in the dark darts. I don't like it very much though smile What I absolutely adore is something called the Pulling Pal: www.pullingpal.com

I got 6 of them and it made this job possible as a solo act. I have a bunch of other tools but those pulleys and my fish rods were the main ones.
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Matt

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#372200 - 12/08/2019 00:37 Re: Patch panel vs keystone? [Re: Dignan]
Shonky
pooh-bah

Registered: 12/01/2002
Posts: 1985
Loc: Brisbane, Australia
I have no significant experience, but would it not be wise to have a couple of cable management 1RU pieces?

Looks nice now, but how will it look when patched?
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Christian
#40104192 120Gb (no longer in my E36 M3, won't fit the E46 M3)

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#372208 - 14/08/2019 20:19 Re: Patch panel vs keystone? [Re: Dignan]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12195
Loc: Sterling, VA
I seem to have forgotten to take a photo of it patched, but I think it still looks good. I'm not sure what kind of cable management piece you're referring to. Do you have a link?
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Matt

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#372209 - 14/08/2019 21:08 Re: Patch panel vs keystone? [Re: Dignan]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31332
Loc: Seattle, WA
I think he's referring to these kinds of doohickeys.

https://www.amazon.com/Server-Rack-Cable-Management-Horizontal/dp/B073X4PLG9
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Tony Fabris

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#372210 - 14/08/2019 22:28 Re: Patch panel vs keystone? [Re: Dignan]
Shonky
pooh-bah

Registered: 12/01/2002
Posts: 1985
Loc: Brisbane, Australia
Yep, those. To keep the excess bits of cable tidy as patch cables are rarely the exact right length.
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Christian
#40104192 120Gb (no longer in my E36 M3, won't fit the E46 M3)

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#372218 - 22/08/2019 13:14 Re: Patch panel vs keystone? [Re: Dignan]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12195
Loc: Sterling, VA
Ah ok. I'm not sure why I'll need that though? all the lines come into the back of the patch panel, then all my connecting are with short patch cables. I took a photo last night...


Attachments
47F92343-70CF-4710-86F1-B6C5A7EF5D05.jpeg (30 downloads)

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Matt

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#372219 - 22/08/2019 13:22 Re: Patch panel vs keystone? [Re: Dignan]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12195
Loc: Sterling, VA
Sure, patch cables are rarely the exact right length, but you can get pretty close laugh I also organized the rack so that I could use mostly a single length of patch cable (6"), and as a bonus the switches get some room to breathe. I generally try to keep dozens of patch cables in varying lengths on hand in general, though for a project like this, my design let me put in a bulk order for ~120 6" cables.

I never make my own anymore. At least not in this quantity. It's not worth my time, TBH. And I can pass the cost along to the client anyway smile
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Matt

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#372220 - 22/08/2019 13:28 Re: Patch panel vs keystone? [Re: Dignan]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12195
Loc: Sterling, VA
The boxes to the left of the rack, btw, are access control boxes for the six doors they hired me wire up. I just finished installing and wiring those last night.
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Matt

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