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In our office we have a gigabit LAN driven by Netgear ProSafe switches. I am trying to increase our throughput and am wondering if some of our patch panels could use an overhaul. I don't see any sort of ratings on them and they are about 10 years old. My best throughput numbers I see right now are 268Mbps. After reading some other posts that seems within what people would find acceptable but thought I should ask all the same.

Thanks, D

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Unless you are getting errors through them, then no. Your patch panels are fine, and would be the last thing at the bottom of a long list of items to look at.

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Mind you, the ideal situation is that they were certified to the correct spec at the time of install and you have the documentation - Fluke printout or whatever. If you've upgraded the cabling but the paneling isn't up to the new spec, that could potentially be a problem. –  mfinni May 26 '11 at 19:57
    
@mfinni, of course, I agree. I guess my point is, if the error rate is 0 through the panels, then the panels aren't a problem. In other words, if there aren't problems, upgrading to a higher quality patch panel won't give him extra bandwidth, as the bitrate is essentially fixed anyway. –  Brad May 26 '11 at 20:09
    
Got it. Yup yup. –  mfinni May 26 '11 at 20:21

This heavily depends on the concrete type of patch panel. In general each additional connector has an influence on the signal quality (line attenuation, transfer resistance...). Depending on the type of panel it might have either just the sockets installed where you have to add your cables yourself or it comes with already pre-mounted cables. If you want to use GBE (Gigabit Ethernet) you need to use Category 5e cables or better. The type of shielding also affects signal quality as well as the cable length of course.

So without knowing the concrete panel type it's hard to say whether it's safe to use GBE connections on it.

Caution: If you use short cabling and you're able to establish GBE connections via the patch panel this does not mean that the connection will be stable. So for home use and non-critical installations it might be sufficient. But for critical infrastructure I would rather recommend replacing the panels with properly-rated ones.

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GbE will happily run on plain old CAT5 cable. –  joeqwerty May 26 '11 at 20:17
    
Yes, this is what I wrote ;) –  SkyBeam May 26 '11 at 20:20
    
Oh, I thought you wrote that you needed CAT5e or better to run GbE. –  joeqwerty May 26 '11 at 20:43
    
Ah no; the "e" is the key. And actually you're right. Playin Cat5 should be sufficient per specification. However I haven't encountered anything lower than Cat5e recently and never used plain Cat5 (no "e") for GbE yet. So if you buy new cables you're likely to buy Cat5e or Cat6 cables rather than plain Cat5. However you're entirely right that Cat5 is supposed to be sufficient for GbE. –  SkyBeam May 26 '11 at 21:07

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