How does a patch panel work?

How does a patch panel work - A patch panel is a passive networking hub that bundles multiple ports together connecting incoming and outgoing lines.  If you want to set up a wired network including multiple wall ports in various locations in a residence or commercial setting, a patch panel is the way to go.  With wireless internet connections becoming more popular, the use of a patch panel can actually maximize internet speed.  A wired network can deliver a faster and more consistent signal flow, achieving maximized bandwidth capabilities.

Also known as a patch bay or patch field, a patch panel is a simple, organized and easily managed solution used in connecting multiple computers, telecommunications devices, and external hardware to one another.  Each port connects by means of an ethernet or patch cable, and sends data to an outgoing port location.  Patch panels can be set up to be a part of a Localized Area Network (LAN), connecting computers to one another and to outside lines in larger area networks enabling internet access.  Arranging circuits in a patch panel is as easy as plugging and unplugging the appropriate patch cords.

Patch panels are used frequently in home and commercial audio studio setups, and in industries that require extensive audio applications.  The ability to have hardware and external effects units plugged into the same hub enables an array of routing options, limited only by the type of hardware used.  Problems in signal flow can be more easily identified, and patch panels can virtually eliminate unwanted grounding issues often associated with using multiple hardware devices.

Wiring a patch panel is as easy as wiring an ethernet jack.  The sequence must simply be repeated as many times as necessary to connect all inputs.  For most home networks, a patch panel with 8 ports is usually enough to get the job done - but expansion is available as needed.  24, 48, 96, and as many as 336 patch panels formats are available to handle any and all situations.  

With the ability to label individual inputs and outputs in a patch panel (for example, a desk or computer number), organization and troubleshooting network connections are much easier to isolate and correct.  If you want to discuss how a patch panel can improve your workflow in your recording studio, drop us a line at +1 (818) 500-8142 or email us at

We love to talk signal flow!

Jack Field
Jack Field