Keystone Patch Panel or Punch Down Patch Panel for VoIP?

Posted on 2013-10-26
Last Modified: 2013-10-28
I will be running Cat5e across an entire office building to accomodate VoIP using a PoE and am wondering what is better - a punch down patch panel where I can connect the switch to the network cables or a blank keystone patch panel where the connection would function as a coupler?

Thank you for the help
Question by:renniscom
LVL 23

Assisted Solution

tailoreddigital earned 50 total points
ID: 39603531
I use a patch panel here at home.    I initially set it up with keystones but found that the Cat5 inline couplers were inconsistent with the signal (just not well made).     I switched them with the punch down and all is well now.  

All my parts came from monoprice.    Although i recommend monoprice for many items, keystone cat couplers is something i won't buy again from them.    If you go the coupler route, i'd go elsewhere for them.
LVL 15

Assisted Solution

by:Robert Sutton Jr
Robert Sutton Jr earned 50 total points
ID: 39603758
Always use a punch down patch panel.  It not only simplifies troubleshooting but also allows for ease of MAC's (Moves, Adds, Changes) within your topology. Using couplers adds not only degradation of signal but more importantly 2 more possible points of failure in the physical portion of your network. Hope this helps.
LVL 45

Expert Comment

by:Craig Beck
ID: 39606529
I'd use a keystone panel.

Which keystone panel were you thinking of?  The keystone panels I've worked with allow for individual cables to be added/moved/removed with minimum disruption so they're usually easier to work with than standard panels.

The jacks don't act as couplers in a keystone system - they are individual jacks which terminate exactly like the ones in the standard panel.  The only difference is that they're not fixed to the panel on a PCB.

Also, use solid-core Cat5E instead of stranded.  It will perform better, but also solid-core is far more solid when punched-down.  Stranded Cat5E tends to be a bit looser.
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Author Comment

ID: 39606599
I was thinking of a blank keystone panel, unless you know of a better one. I can always go punchdown panel, but was looking for an easier and quicker solution- hence the keystone
LVL 45

Expert Comment

by:Craig Beck
ID: 39606636
There are plenty of blank keystone panels.

Excel, Nexans, Connectix, Brand-Rex, Krone... they all make blank panels.  You just have to choose one to suit your installation, and choose jacks which fit.

I think these are the type of thing you meant in the OP, which do contain couplers, but they aren't keystone panels...?

Author Comment

ID: 39606753
Yes, those were the ones I was referring to. Any you'd recommend?
LVL 45

Expert Comment

by:Craig Beck
ID: 39606768
The Excel ones are perfectly adequate.  Personally I wouldn't use one in a business-type environment though if you're using VoIP and Gigabit applications, but for 100Mbps applications they'd be fine.

Author Comment

ID: 39606854
So for VoIP the ruling is punch down, correct? Can't go wrong with that one even though its a bit more time consuming...
LVL 45

Accepted Solution

Craig Beck earned 300 total points
ID: 39606885
If you mean punch-down vs keystone, then they're both the same.  The only difference between punch-down and keystone is that you can remove the sockets from the panel individually.  The terminations are the same.

The coupler panels, as described in the link I posted are different to both punch-down and keystone panels.  So, there are three options, and not two.

I'd go with keystone panels or punch-down panels if you are going to support low-latency, mission-critical applications.  If you want a quick-to-install cabling system with adequate support for 100Mbps applications, go with the coupler-panels.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 39606980
I truly appreciate your feedback and everyone else' s input. I will go with either keystone or punch down being it is VoIP.
Thank you

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