I hate paying a premium price for a seat in a sports arena only to be packed in like sardines and unable to get a good view of the game. Team owners try to meet fans’ demand for seats because there’s nothing like being there in person, but density impacts access if not well planned. 

Patch panel density presents similar challenges. Increasing equipment port counts, with data center space at a premium, mandate high density patching. Whether the connectivity is copper or fiber, interface footprints (ports) are standardized and have physical limits within the area of the panel. Jamming adapters/jacks into a panel for maximum density may at first seem like an obvious (and final) answer to the problem. It possibly could be if patch panels were only touched once during initial equipment deployment. 

Unlike the sports arena analogy, fortunately, all links in the patch panel can still “see the game,” even if the user doesn’t have access to the port. Moving the interface (port) is an answer many patch panel providers deploy to solve the port access challenge. However, movement adds an additional risk to the panel problem, much like it does at the sport arena. When a view is blocked at the arena, many people stand to improve their position.  This often impedes and negatively impacts others’ access. Such an impact is unacceptable with patching.

Movement of ports or sections of ports within the panel must be planned for, and managed, to assure an “unobstructed view of the game” for all links. When designed correctly, link connectivity is assured even in high density applications where some port movement is necessary.

What experience have you had with patching and port movement?

About the Author

Joe Livingston

Joe Livingston is the regional technical sales manager for the North Region, supporting CommScope Enterprise Solutions. During his 10 years with CommScope, Joe has served in a number of engineering roles. Prior to joining CommScope, he worked as a product manufacturing engineer for Optical Switch Corporation and held multiple positions at Raytheon/TI Defense Systems. Joe earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Tennessee. He also holds several U.S. patents.

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1 comment for "Density vs. Access"
Data Design Group

keep the posts coming. i learn so much, thank you!

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