A typical issue for administrators of small server rooms (perhaps only one or two racks) is keeping cables tidy between servers (which have their network ports on the back) and network switches (which have their network ports on the front).

One way of reducing this problem is to have a patch panel at the front of the cabinet and a patch panel at the rear; this way your patch leads can be significantly shorter as well as making it easier to trace cables. In my implementation of this design the final 6 ports of the rear patch panel are dedicated to the KVM (which uses a USB/VGA to network cable adapter) to further simplify the cabling.

The photos and Visio drawing below show how things are organised now and how they will be in the not so distant future with up to 4Us of space allowed for a network switch directly above the front server patch panel.

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4 Responses to Small server room cabling – Front to Back patch panels

  • Anonymous says:

    Why not just mount the switches at the rear of the rack and use appropriately sized patch leads direct to the servers. Each termination with the patch panels is another point of failure.

    • James Preston says:

      You are quite right there it is another point of failure; as with everything it comes down to the risk of it happening (which I would perceive as low in this case).
      With mounting the switches backwards, we would also have to mount the firewall, wireless controller and other kit backwards as well. Either way itโ€™ll all just become a bit messy.

    • James Preston says:

      Indeed; that’s why having such a patch panel helps as everything can remain pointing in the direction it was designed to be.

      Having said that it is possible to get switches and the likes with fans that work the other way ๐Ÿ™‚

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