What is a patch cable?

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If you’ve ever plugged into a computer and wondered what a patch cable was for, you’re not alone. In fact, most people don’t have a clear idea of what a patch cable is, so it’s important to understand what this device is capable of. Patch cables are cables with connectors on both ends. These are typically the best choice for short-distance connections. They are not as flexible as jumpers but offer higher attenuation. 

A patch cable’s purpose is to connect devices in a short distance. These cables are not “smart” devices and can be as short as a few inches. A shorter version of a patch cable has a thicker inner conductor than a longer one, and both are shielded to prevent electromagnetic interference. 

This cable is typically made of multiple cables connected together with a connector on each end. The wires are generally twisted pairs so that they are more flexible. Some are solid copper and are used for connecting multiple devices on a network. Regardless of the cable type, it can connect two different types of devices.

Patch Cable Applications

A patch cable has many applications. These cables are used for connecting computers and other devices over a short distance. They can range from a few inches to two meters. They can also be as long as eight feet. The longer ones are thicker than, the shorter ones. To prevent electromagnetic interference, they have shielded ends. 

Patch Cable Color Standards

The majority of patch cords are available in multiple colors to be distinguished from each other. Although ANSI/TIA published some patch cable color guidelines, not all of them have been adopted. The University of Wisconsin Network Services Department sets the example for others by defining the colors used in every cable system.

The standard colors utilized ith patch cord jackets by the University of Wisconsin include:

  • Black – utilized as a general color 
  • Pink – employed as an additional color option
  • White – used as an additional color option
  • Yellow – commonly used for POE connections
  • Orange – usually utilized for analog non-ethernet connections
  • Purple – It is mainly used for digital non-ethernet connections
  • Blue – utilized for terminal server connections
  • Red – employed for IP cameras
  • Grey – used for standard ethernet connections
  • Green – used for crossover ethernet connections

There are many options for color choices depending on the application and client. But consistency is the key. Consistency in color can save time and money on implementation, maintenance, and future headaches.

Ethernet cables vs. Patch cables

Ethernet cables simply refer to wires that are compliant with Ethernet protocols. These cables can be made of copper or optical fiber. Patch cables are just ethernet cables that have connectors at both ends. The difference between an Ethernet cable and a patch cable is primarily wiring and termination. In a copper network, Ethernet cables are used for long distances. They are typically more expensive than patch cables and are more flexible. A patch cable may be more flexible, while an ethernet cable is designed for longer distances.

If you would like to receive a quote for any of custom cables or connectors, please do not hesitate to contact us by sending an email to [email protected] or calling in the USA this phone number (682-325-1944).


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