A patch panel or patch field is a plug-in field that is used for connecting, distributing and marshalling connections. Patch panels are housed in distribution cabinets in the distribution room and, depending on the front panel equipment, support the various transmission media and data connectors.
Each connection socket in the tertiary area is assigned its own connector on the patch panel. The patch panels differ in the number of connections (16 to 48), in the layout type for the connections, in the number of connections lying in a row (8 to 24) and in the height units. A patch panel facilitates the connection of monitoring and analysis devices as well as reconfiguration in the event of a fault by means of the plug-in, switch-over and matrix function.
In universal cabling according to the ISO/IEC11801 and EN 50173 cabling standards, patch panels are part of the cabling system and are subject to their specifications. Since they directly influence the transmission characteristics and thus the link classes, patch panels should have the same category as the other transmission components. Crosstalk attenuation is a particular problem with patch panels.