A patch panel is a piece of equipment that helps us to organize our network cables.
Think of an environment that has a lot of network devices. This means there will be a lot of network cables, most likely connecting back to a switch.
But these devices are probably not in the same room as the switch. And even if they were, would we run cables loosely across the floor? Of course not! It’s messy, and a trip hazard.
Instead, the network cables are run through the walls, roof, or floor, which keeps most of the cabling out of sight.
All we really see is a wall outlet that the device connects to, and a short cable called a patch lead that connects the device to the wall outlet.
At the other end of this, we have the switch and the patch panel. The cables from all those wall outlets end up here, connected to the back of the patch panel. Then we use nice tidy patch leads to connect the cables we want to the switch.
The ports on the panel should be labeled, so we know which port corresponds to which wall outlet.