Keystone patch panels - what are my options?

DrStein99

Member
Feb 3, 2018
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New Jersey, USA
I have to put in patch panel, and ordered just a basic punch down one. Then I go on youTube and realize, that I can make it a whole lot easier for me if I just punched down to the individual keystone jacks to pop-in to a blank patch panel. Some people were complaining that the straight up metal ones were too tight between ports or the metal punches did not quite fit the keystone jacks.

I was wondering if anyone here had more experience, can suggest something good. I like the idea of snapping each keystone jacks into plastic inserts into a metal panel. The modular configuration helps me to maintain one port without disturbing the whole thing too much.

So far the ones I see on eBay want to see me HIGH density 24 port on 1u all bunched together. I can't see the cable manager bracket that goes with it to help space out the cables, with zip-ties. The photography is poor and can not tell if these panels are just straight sheet metal with square punches, or have plastic insert guide grommets around the keystone insert that goes in it. I am getting confused and spent way too much time shop-browsing to find the same results.

So which panels has anyone used, that they liked - and comments please.
 

BlueLineSwinger

Active Member
Mar 11, 2013
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I haven't had cause to use such panels myself, but I guess I've never really had the need. To me, they only really make sense if you need to arbitrarily mix/match types of jacks (RJ-45, fiber, coax, etc.), and/or maybe are looking to support connectors that aren't typically offered in patch panels. Otherwise, it's just reduced density (typically) for increased cost.

Not sure why punching down to a keystone would be any easier than to a typical panel. If anything, I find patch panels a bit easier because I can work with the wall/rack/etc. it's mounted to instead of having to hold the keystone in-hand.
 

K D

Well-Known Member
Dec 24, 2016
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I used 4 of these to terminate all my house connections.

I could have gone with a panel rather than get these and punching down individual Jacks. I remember there was a reason I chose this over a panel but can't recollect what it was.

Cable Matters Rack or Wall Mount 24-Port Keystone Patch Panel https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0072JVT02?ref=yo_pop_ma_swf
 

ttabbal

Active Member
Mar 10, 2016
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I think punching the regular panels is far easier than the individual keystones. Even with a tool that holds the keystones and punches all 8 wires at the same time. Patch panels are faster for me.
 

DrStein99

Member
Feb 3, 2018
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New Jersey, USA
I can surely understand, from a seasoned and experienced point of view - how the traditional 110 blocks are probably easier. Except when if I had to maintain a cable, I have to dismantle the entire line. Disturb all the good working cables, and play fun games with the 1 bad one conveniently in the center bottom of it all, and try and compromise re-punching that on the rack wall, or dismantling the ladder rack to give me enough space to lay it on a bench.

Keystone panels have more options. I would prefer mine spaced out more, seems like 16 on a 1u -vs- 24 jammed as tight as possible.
 

pricklypunter

Well-Known Member
Nov 10, 2015
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I have only ever used component panels in small business locations, and the odd house for friends, where there's both mixed use and budget restrictions. Quite often they will have a small, perhaps only a short depth comms rack, somewhere on premises where all their infrastructure is located and terminated. Wherever possible I always try to separate primary functions into their own panels if I have room for it. It almost removes the "oops" factor later when I'm not the one maintaining the installation. I certainly prefer terminating a fixed configuration panels with cable management bars over terminating individual jacks, but sometimes it's unavoidable. If cable forms are terminated and managed properly, there should be little reason to re-enter a panel from a wiring perspective anyway. That said, I always bundle and layer my cable forms so that if I do have to disturb the installation going forward, that I only ever have to worry about the few ports in that bundle :)
 

mixmansc

Member
Feb 15, 2016
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I've been using some from Cable Matters for a while now and really like them. For smaller installs or where you do not want to have to mess with a rack mount type they have a 12 port one that mounts like a standard telco block which is very handy. Its a standard 89d bracket (very common style block mount). It however is board based and not keystone based but with the 110 block style mount its super simple to just pull the block and get to the back to add or fix a wiring issue. That being said, once fully populated and checked you realistically should not ever have any issues. I have also seen the same style but with keystone holes as well if that is your preference. The big plus for me is they are very economical and you do not have to bother with any sort of rack hardware. Of course with a larger install then rack style is often the way to go, particularly if you have other equipment that is rack mount.

This is the 110 block style one - https://www.amazon.com/Cable-Matters-12-Port-Vertical-Bracket/dp/B00UVQI8B6

One thing I've found is that the cheapest most generic stuff is often problematic.
 

cheezehead

Active Member
Sep 23, 2012
717
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WI
Integrated ones are generally cheaper that the keystone style. The only real advantage I see with them is the ability to mix and match multiple keystone jack types within a 1U space.

Practically, I've always done integrated (ala 110 block style) panels. The punch downs are faster, neater, take up less space and have some additional tools available. When punching down multiple 96-port panels it's much faster to start looking into the likes of the 4-pair punch down tools...96 punches vs 768 punches saves a lot of time.

For mounting at home, make sure to mount any panels holding house/structure wiring to the house via studs or wall-mount panels. I've seen a few people asking what to do when mounting them to 4-post racks and they try to sell their now old house.