How to Choose the Right Patch Cables for Your Networking Needs

March 27, 2024
Natalie Thorburn

A patch cable is often highly downplayed and mostly overlooked. This is despite its role in a complex setup of networking. A patch cable may be slim, but it runs in all directions possible and gets linked with everything to make literal lifelines of the network.

When choosing cables such as these, it is not only compatibility that you have to consider though. You also need to look at performance, reliability, and efficiency. Fortunately, with a little bit of help, understanding what works best for you isn't quite as out of reach.

Below, you will see what to look out for when on the market for patch cables. These will help you select the right patch cable for your needs.

Understanding Patch Cables

Patch cables are connectors from devices to other devices within the Local Area Network. Devices may be anything like routers, computers, and switches. Different patch cables have different categories; each allows certain degrees of speed and bandwidth required for a certain operation. For example, there is the Cat5e that is perfect in a network with speeds of 1 Gbps, the Cat6 and Cat6a cables that work with a network running up to 10 Gbps.

Considerations for Choosing Patch Cables

a. Performance Requirements

The choice of the patch cable will be based on the level of performance demand that will mostly be presented by the network. In this respect, a high-speed network, especially those that have operations in high demand for data, should be supported by Cat6a or the Cat7 which have higher bandwidth. To make the right choice, it is valuable that the current and future needs be evaluated in terms of the bandwidth to be used.

b. Network Environment

The environment in which you are going to run the network is also to be considered. In most cases, especially where the environment is prone to a lot of electromagnetic interference (EMI), like industrial sites or near heavy machines, the need for shielded patch cables becomes necessary.

c. Quality and Standards

Always choose patch cables with the proper, generally accepted standard of ANSI/TIA. Sometimes it may sound catchy to buy cheaper cables to save money. However, only if you invest in the long term by setting up a network that is both stable and efficient will you have actually made a cost-effective decision.

d. Physical Characteristics

Consider the length of the cabling, and their flexibility and durability as well. Cables that are too long may end up in signal losses, while very short ones are also not ideal, considering they might not comfortably reach your devices. Also, even if you do not feel the immediate need for it, you may want to buy a model that is resistant to dust, moisture, mud, and other stuff. This often pays off in the long run.

Conclusion

Selecting the right patch cords for your networking is something that need not be overly burdensome. By following our tips above, you should be able to get reliable patch cabling set up in no time. As you make your final choice, do not forget to also look into the future, as what is not important to you now may end up being something you need badly in the future.

 

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