How to Choose the Right Fiber Patch Panel?

Fiber patch panel, also known as fiber enclosure, is deployed for better cable management and cable protection in data centers. Fiber patch panel terminates the fiber optic cable and provides access to the cables’ individual fibers for cross connection, which makes it easier for technicians to do the cabling work. Since there are various types of fiber patch panels in the market, choosing the right one for your network is not as easy as you think.

Loaded vs. Unloaded

Before choosing fiber patch panels, you should keep in mind that fiber optic enclosures have loaded and unloaded version. Loaded patch panel is pre-installed with adapter panels or cassettes while unloaded patch panel is empty with nothing inside. Typically, LC and MTP connectors are widely used in loaded patch panels. But these connectors in loaded panels are often permanently mounted, so if a port gets damaged it’s dead forever. Unloaded patch panel, on the contrary, is more flexible that can let you swap out defective ports at will. But extra assemblies are demanded to be purchased and installed by yourself.

loaded-unloaded patch panel

Patch Panel Rack Size

Fiber patch panel is usually measured by rack unit. A rack unit is used to describe the height of electronic equipment designed to mount in a 19-inch wide rack or a 23-inch wide rack. The height of rack-mounted equipment is frequently described as a number with U or RU. 1U refers to one rack unit, 2U refers to two rack units and so on. 2RU and 4RU are often used for high-density installations. So according to your application, the related rack size should also be adjusted.

Port Density

Port density is also an important part to be considered when purchasing fiber patch panels. As for normal patch panel, 1RU is able to carry 48 ports. If high-density patch panel is required, 1RU can support 96 ports. Moreover, 144 ports in 1RU is also available with ultra density patch panels. Since high-density has been frequently applied to the data centers, patch panels with higher port density becomes the future trend.


Migration to High-Density Patch Panels

With the wide deployment of 40G and 100G high speed networks. MPO/MTP breakout patch panel may be an ideal solution for this high-density installation. Deploying high-density patch panels has many advantages. It simplifies the cabling deployment by running a short fiber patch cable from your SAN or network switch up to the fiber patch panel. Much space can also be saved in data centers by mounting more cables into a smaller space. Installation is easier since no tools are required to install cassettes in the patch panels, and push-pull tabs are used to ease the difficulty of cable connections in the patch panels.


To organized and protect cables to ensure a stable network, fiber patch panel is definitely the perfect solution. When choosing fiber patch panels, you’re supposed to consider from the aspects of loaded or unloaded types, rack size, port density, etc. Besides, the high-density patch panel is a cost-effective solution that overcomes the cabling congestion in high bandwidth networking.


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