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I can go down to my local graybar right now and purchase some AllenTel 48 Port Cat 6 Patch panels I need (part number AT66-PNL-48). They are $275 each. That seems a bit high considering I've seen other brands for far cheaper -- $165 for this brand.

Is there a considerable difference between the two? All I'm doing is running cable from my network rack to my server rack (which are about 10 ft away from each other in the same room) under an elevated floor using cat6.

Is this something i can 'cheap out' on and save a bit of money and still have the same performance? Thanks!

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Any reason not to go with Cat5E? Are you implementing 10GBASE-T? If not, then Cat5E should suffice and should be cheaper. – joeqwerty Oct 27 '10 at 15:51
Our entire network is cat6, every panel, wire, etc.. I want to stay consistent. Thanks for the suggestion though! – drpcken Oct 27 '10 at 15:53
Gotcha. Carry on. :) – joeqwerty Oct 27 '10 at 15:58

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The answer to your question is probably lying in the manufacturer's data sheets: Short answer is that if the gear meets the Cat6 spec's requirements it's a "Cat6 panel" - One manufacturer may just barely meet those requirements, another may meet them with a bit of a margin, and a third may have a wide margin of performance above the requirements of the Cat6 specification.

If you're curious/interested look at the data sheets for the product & compare them to the Cat6 spec - I won't say there's no difference, but in practice I think panels from any reputable manufacturer will be electrically similar enough that you don't need to worry about it & can look at price.

Personally in practice I look at other factors (cable management & panel-to-panel connection style are biggies -- How much work will it be to cable the panels up, and if I have to move them in a year or two will I wind up having to replace all my panel-to-panel trunks or can I reuse them?). Spending less time with punchdowns & crawling under floors is always worth a little price premium in my mind :-)

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I have found that where the cost is really going to hit you is the labor to patch these to panels together (electricians are usually not cheap ;-) ). You might want to have a gander at Tyco's MRJ-21 system (see this previous SF question). I am not sure if it meets your 6 requirement -- it is Gig though. Cuts the whole labor and is really easy to move around down the road.

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I am patching them myself, I was just curious if the cost of the more expensive panel justified it. – drpcken Oct 27 '10 at 16:44
I'm pretty sure the Tyco/AMP MRJ21 gear is only available in cat5e, but definitely worth looking at & talking to them -- they may have cat6 stuff available and just not well-advertised. – voretaq7 Oct 27 '10 at 16:51

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