In network cabinets, especially in distribution cabinets, even the most clearly arranged patch level sooner or later becomes confusing. With high packing densities, the service technician faces the complication of being able to identify, assign, and move cables and connectors. Flat ethernet cables are a great alternative.
Adds, moves and changes in the LAN: Maintenance personnel must pull in a new patch cable or reconnect existing connections. However, the associated classic patch cables are difficult to pull through the guide elements, especially in full distribution cabinets, the technician can seldom reach the latching lugs to pull a plug.
Durable in installation and flexible at the patch level:
Many network operators have IT cabling designed for durability and high data rates. Often, LAN cabling on the floor is Category 7 or 7A according to EN 50173, which are rigid S/FTP cables with a braided jacket shield and metal foil shielding for each pair of wires. They are designed for transmissions up to 600 MHz or 1000 MHz and are suitable for Ethernet connections up to 10 GBit/s, video and TV transmissions. In many cases, these maximum data rates are hardly reached by the common office workstations that are connected to them.
Benefits of flat ethernet cables:
With flat cables there is much more space in front of the patch level. Since they have no twist, there is no need to struggle with rigid round cables. The installer simply places the flexible thin cable bands in the guide elements and connects them. They extend nowhere near as far from the patch level as classic round cables. This greatly improves airflow in the cabinet and reduces the fire load compared to thick round cables. The flat ethernet cables are even suitable for connecting voice-over-IP telephones or WLAN access points, as they support Power-over-Ethernet connections in accordance with IEEE 802.3af up to 15.4 watts.
The thin cable ribbons make maintenance work such as patching uncomplicated, technicians can quickly reach the latching lugs of the connectors. Also, the flexible cables are easier to place in the guide elements. Even if the plugs have additional pull-back protection, the maintenance technician can pull them out of cable guides trouble-free.
Why you should switch to flat ethernet cables at the patch level:
flexible cables hardly need any space in front of the patch level
thin and organized cables help increase airflow in the cabinet
reduced fire load
easier handling during installation, no twist and increased flexibility than traditional round cables
flexible cables simplify patching and pulling in and out of cable cords
neat cable routing within cabinets supporting many adds, moves & changes
copper variants also available shielded and with PoE support
all common fiber optic variants available
Flat ethernet cable are also available shielded:
Shielded flat ethernet cables are currently available up to category 6a; suitable for data rates of up to 10 GBit/s. This is definitely sufficient for the classic connection of workstations. In these U/FTP cables, the foil-shielded twisted pairs of wires lie next to each other in the ethernet cable. An injection-molded bend protection sleeve protects against cable breakage near the connector.
Customizable designs in copper and fiber:
The flat ethernet cables are available in shielded, unshielded and most fiber variants in a variety of colors.
Traditional Installation practice: Rebuilding cabinets
When an installer rebuilds a network cabinet, they must first unpack all the cables intended for that cabinet in the case of classic patch cords, tame the swirl of the cables, and then place them in the installation environment sorted by length. Then they can pull them in one by one and connect them. To summarize: find the first port, connect it, run the cable through the patch panel, run it sideways to the height of the associated patch panel, identify the correct port, and run the cable through the second patch panel to it and connect it. The whole process is repeated 24 times per patch panel, making it extremely time-consuming.
Eight times faster with PATCHBOX
Things go much faster with PATCHBOX where flat ethernet cables are mounted in a cassette with an integrated pulley. By automatically pulling in excess cable lengths, the actual cause of cable clutter is eliminated. PATCHBOX Plus+, with its standard integrated 1.7 meter cables, accommodates up to 24 patch cables in one RU. Ideally, the installer always places the boxes above or below the switch, achieving a vertical 1:1 allocation of switch ports. This is clear and concise.
For patching, the user pulls a flexible ethernet cable out of the PATCHBOX and leads it to a patch panel in the cabinet. The PATCHBOX Plus+ is designed for distances up to 26U, the smaller variant, PATCHBOX 365 is better suited for wall cabinets with its shorter cable design, bridges up to 10U. If longer distances need to be wired, Long Range cassettes are available for the PATCHBOX Plus+ with longer patch cables of 2.7 meters, these can serve a whole 48U. Designed with a unique logic, PATCHBOX brings massive speed advantages in the installation process as well as the maintenance of server and network cabinets.
Detailed information about PATCHBOX and the integrated flat ethernet cables can be found here.