A patch cord, patch cable or patch lead is an electrical or optical length of cable with connectors on the ends that is used to connect an end device to something else, such as a power source. There are a number of devices that are connected with patch cables, one of the most common uses is connecting a laptop, desktop or other end device to a wall outlet. They come in various colours to be easily distinguishable and are usually short in length.
Patch cables are part of the local area network (LAN) and are used to connect network switches to servers, storage and monitoring portals (traffic access points). They are considered to be an integral part of the structured cabling system.
Types of patch cable include:
Microphone cables Headphone extension cables XLR connector Tiny Telephone (TT) connector RCA connector Modular Ethernet cables Snake cable used to carry video
Why patch cables/leads are used Patch cables are typically CAT5/CAT5e Ethernet cables linking a computer to a nearby network hub, switch or router, or a switch to a router, etc. Ethernet patch cables are useful to those building home computer networks and also to travellers who need wired access to the internet like those provided in hotel rooms. A crossover cable is a specific type of Ethernet patch cable used to connect two computers to each other. Non-networking patch cables might include headphone extension cables, microphone cables, and RCA connectors, patch panel cables, etc. Patch cord cable is different from structured cabling cable in that patch cable is stranded for flexibility, whereas standard cable is solid copper. Patch cords are often made of coaxial cables, with the signal carried through a shielded core, and the electrical ground or earthed return connection carried through a wire mesh surrounding the core. Each end of the cable is attached to a connector so that the cord may be plugged in.
A patch cable connects two different devices to each other. These devices might be networking devices like computers or other hardware, or non-networking ones such as headphones or microphones. The right patch cord type can improve the performance of your network. The proper design, specification, manufacturing, installation and ongoing maintenance of patch cord systems can help ensure that your network experiences as much uptime as possible. Copper and fibre patch cords offer superior performance and engineered resiliency to meet the bandwidth and network speeds of today.
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