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I am completing my home remodel and have decided to wire CAT6 cables throughout the house with at least 2 sockets for the wall jacks in each room.

My subcontractor has already wired all of the rooms and we are in the process of finalizing the network closet.

My subcontractor is saying that I do not need to use a patch panel; but he is leaving me the final say in the matter. I am leaning towards using the patch panel but I also have several questions:

  1. Am I going overboard by using a patch panel for my home? Or will it save a few headaches in the future if I need to modify my home network closet?

  2. If I do, in fact use both the patch panel and switch - are there any helpful guides that diagram how the modem and router connects to the patch panel and switch? I want to ensure I have the proper setup to double check my subcontractor's work.

I purchased:

  • Cable Matters 24 Port Cat6a Shielded Patch Panel (link)
  • TP Link TL-SG1024 10/100/1000Mbps 24-Port Gigabit 19-inch Rackmountable Switch, 48Gbps Capacity (link)

I currently have and plan to use:

  • ASUS (RT-AC68U) Wireless-AC1900 Dual-Band Gigabit Router (for misc iPads)
  • ARRIS SURFboard SB6183 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem. My ISP is Time Warner Cable @ 300 mbs DL

Thank you.

2 Answers 2

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Having just setup my homenetwork let me share this:

1. A patch panel is useful to properly terminate and label the cables coming out of the wall. From those fixed endpoints you can neatly connect each cable == endpoint to whatever comes after - in your case the switch. This saves you having cables with plugs coming directly out of the wall/conduit and the need to put labels on those loose cables which might fall off over time.

However, in a SOHO environment the need for repatching will probably be very rare and there wont be too many cables either. So ask yourself how many times you will need repatching and how bad you feel having little stickers on a cable coming out of the wall instead of having a nice label on your patch panel.

Costwise you can save the patch panel and the short patch cables! Its surely more neat to use a patch panel and extra cables to connect these but again - in a SOHO environment the question is how often this will be touched after.

In a commercial environment also different people might have to handle the wiring and it is likely to change more often, which is the reason why the "neater" patch panel setup is the commercial standard.

In the end its up to you! Using good labels on the cables coming out of the wall should do the job as good as the panel.

Also there is always the option to introduce the patch panel at a later moment as you just have to take off the plugs off the cable and connect each to the patch panel after.

For the network setup:

  • you connect each cable leading to a room with either a patch cable from the panel or directly to the 24 switch
  • you connect a port of the 24 switch to the yellow ethernet port of your router (connecting more ports of the 24 switch to the 4 switch of you router might increase throughput slightly)
  • you connect the blue WAN port of the router to your cable modem
  • and of course the cable modem to the external coaxial cable
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  • Excellent first post. Welcome to Super User! Oct 30, 2015 at 22:05
  • Thanks so much Anthony! Much appreciated and your reply is very helpful. I will most likely go with the patch panel and switch method to facilitate for any future changes/upgrades.
    – J C
    Oct 31, 2015 at 0:27
  • @u.v. sorry I realized that you answered my Q, not Anthony ;). Much appreciated and your reply is very helpful. I will most likely go with the patch panel and switch method to facilitate for any future changes/upgrades.
    – J C
    Oct 31, 2015 at 0:36
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When you have a bunch of male RJ45 connectors coming out of a wall conduit, it does not lend itself to neatness. Should you wrap them all together and neatly plug them into the switch, it may look acceptable... until a second device needs access to a few ports, but not your switch. Not all devices that use RJ45/Cat6 speak IP/ethernet now. As well, perhaps you may need to directly connect two jacks together, for an intercom, a CC television/security system, or additional speakers for your stereo. These connections wouldn't work well with a switch in their midst.

Wall-wires are considerably more costly to repair, should they become kinked or broken. A patch panel eliminates wear and tear on wall-run cabling, because there's no need to move it again after installation.

Male RJ45 connectors are fragile. If one snags and breaks off, it's a lot easier to replace a short patch cable, than to have to re-crimp a plug to a wall-cable... from within the closet with all the other stuff around.

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  • I totaly agree... When handling just a hand full of cables, you really don't need a patch panel. In a scenario like yours with a lot more endpoints I would always go for the patch panel. Oct 30, 2015 at 21:58
  • Additionally, there are now slim/thin patch cables that make patch-panel to switch connections neater.
    – Criggie
    Sep 11, 2021 at 4:20

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