So the old IT guy was a college student with no experience prior to be hired beyond some classes. The one before him had no experience at all and just did his best with what he had. Now I am here and we have some really bad packet loss problems... I bought a network cable tester, I would have like a certifier but there was no budget for that, and it shows that from the wall outlet to the patch panel the wiring goes as follows. 12345678--->21654387 The connections work but every connection fails because the pairs are switched. Every pair. Should I tear apart the patch panel and fix all of the switched pairs? It looks like from my research that they are just a polarity switch, send+ to send- and receive+ to receive-... I just want to make sure that this is a good reason for packet loss. And that fixing this will lead to a resolution of my current nightmare.
Absolutely that'll be the problem.
You need to rewire both ends so that they match either the 568a or 568b standard. Not wiring it correctly will result in the errors you describe because it relies on differential signalling for noise free transmission. Don't worry if you don't understand that. Basically a plus and a minus pair are twisted together inside the cable.
I'd start with a jack at a time.