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Flat ethernet cables: space-saving, organized and good for increased airflow

Retractable Patch Cable

In network cabinets, especially in distribution cabinets, even the most clearly arranged patch level sooner or later becomes confusing. With high packing densities, service technicians often face difficulties identifying, assigning, and moving cables and connectors. In such cases, flat ethernet cables are a great alternative!

Adds, moves and changes in the LAN mean that the maintenance personnel has to 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. Also, technicians can rarely 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. Those cables 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. Technicians simply need to place the flexible thin cable bands in the guide elements and connect 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 technicians 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
  • significantly 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. They are 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 them 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 a network cabinet is set up and when classic patch cords are used, technicians must first unpack all the cables intended for that cabinet, tame the swirl of the cables and place them in the installation environment sorted by length. Then they can pull them in one by one in order to connect them. This means finding the first port, connecting it, running the cable through the patch panel sideways to the height of the associated patch panel, identifying the correct port, and running the cable through the second patch panel to connect them. 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®! 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 rack unit (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 technician simply needs to pull a flexible ethernet cable out of the PATCHBOX® and lead 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.  

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