A switching network consists of several interconnected matrices (switching multiples) of incoming and outgoing lines, which used to be connected via electromechanical contacts, but are now connected via electronic contacts. Typically, switching matrixes form the central switching unit of exchanges and PBXs.
The term " patch panel " has been replaced by the terms "patch panel " or "patch field". All these patch panels are used to distribute and patch connections. Inaudio and television technology, the terms patch panels and crossbar distributors are used.