Category Archives: Cable Management

Guidelines for Data Center Rack Cable Management

Data center rack, as an effective solution to the increasingly higher demand for computing power and high-density network cabling in data center, has been widely used in the telecommunication field. As a consequence, a good cable management of the server rack has been a challenging task for IT technicians and network installers. In this post, how to organize the data center rack will be suggested.

An Overview of Data Center Rack

At the beginning, the data center rack wiki will be introduced. This will be the first step for your better data center rack cable management.

What is Data Center Rack

The data center rack is a kind of framework used to hold data center equipment, including servers, network switches, cables, etc. Using wisely, the server rack can keep the whole network system work in an ordered and efficient way.

Figure 1: Data Center Racks

Figure 1: Data Center Racks

Types of Data Center Rack

There are many types of server racks in the market. Generally, open server rack, data center server cabinet, and wall mount rack are the most popular types.

Choosing the Right Cable Management for Your Data Center Rack

For a good cable management of data center rack, it cannot do without suitable cable managing devices. Basically, there are three major types of cable organizing devices: patch panel, horizontal cable manager, and vertical cable manager.

Patch Panel

In previous posts, many types of patch panels have been shared. As an indispensable component of cable management, the patch panel is designed to connect and manage all sort of input and output cables of devices, like switches and servers. Usually, based on the connected cable type, the patch panel can be divided into fiber optic patch panel and Ethernet patch panel. As for these two types, there still are many subbranches for choosing. Take the fiber patch panel as an example, you can find regular fiber patch panels and enclosures, MTP/MPO cassettes and enclosures, fiber adapter panels and enclosures, MTP-LC breakout patch panels, etc. For different needs, you can choose the corresponding patch panel.

Figure 2: Ethernet Patch Panel (Left) and Fiber Optic Patch Panel (Right)

Figure 2: Ethernet Patch Panel (Left) and Fiber Optic Patch Panel (Right)

Horizontal Cable Manager

The horizontal cable manager is mostly applied in the 1U cable management, the height of data center racks of the standard unit (1.75 inches). Conventionally, it is installed in front of the server rack, ensuring cables being well-organized and protected. Altogether, there are four common types of 1U horizontal cable manager in the market: horizontal cable managers with finger duct, D-ring, brush strip, and the L-shaped horizontal cable manager.

Vertical Cable Manager

Apart from patch panel and horizontal cable manager, the vertical cable manager is another important branch of cable organizers. Similar to the horizontal type, the vertical type is also used to secure, bundle and route the cables at both sides of the server racks. However, unlike the horizontal cable manager, the vertical cable manager provides a vertical pathway for cables from switches to patch panels in the rack system. Among various vertical cable managers, 5U plastic vertical cable manager with bend radius finger, single D-ring vertical cable manager, and 45U 4.9″ wide plastic vertical cable manager are the popular applications.

Horizontal Cable Manager (Left) and Vertical Cable Manager (Right)

Figure 3: Horizontal Cable Manager (Left) and Vertical Cable Manager (Right)

Data Center Rack Cable Management Tips

Realizing an efficient server rack cable management, you are suggested to follow three main steps:

First, make a plan in advance. You need to have a basic idea of the quantity of the connections for cabling. Especially, a plan should be made before the installations of other network devices, such as cabinets and servers.

Second, understand industry standards. Before the cabling, another important step is to catch the industrial standards and regulations in your country or even the local area. A standard-based cabling system is a prerequisite for your effective cable management.

Third, choose the proper cable managing devices. This is the key step to ensure all connections perform well. As mentioned in the last part, there are many types of cable managing devices. You need to choose the right one conforming with your previous planning and network environment.

Server Rack Cable Management

Figure 4: Server Rack Cable Management


Data center rack cable management has been a headache that has bothered many IT technicians. In fact, an effective cable management for server rack lies in a wisely use of proper cable organizing tools. In this post, the main types of managing devices have been introduced. Also, the tips for data center cable management have also been suggested.

Cat6 Patch Panel vs Cat6a: Difference and Usage

Patch panels are always the indispensable component of tidy and neat cabling system in the data center. There are many Ethernet patch panel types available on the market. According to different cable types, there are different patch panels, such as the cat6 patch panel and cat6a patch panel. Then what’s cat6 and cat6a patch panel? Will Cat6 patch panel work with Cat6a cable?

What Is Cat6 Patch Panel

As the name suggests, the Cat6 patch panel is designed for Cat6 cable management in Gigabit Ethernet applications. With these panels, users can easily manage cables and save space of the data center rack. The Cat6 patch panel features high density to deliver the performance needed for current and next generation data communication networks and applications. These high-density panels offer different port versions, such as the 24, 48 port patch panel.

Cat6 Patch Panel

Figure: Cat6 Patch Panel: used for Cat6 cable management

What Is Cat6a Patch Panel

The Cat6a patch panel is designed for Cat6a cable management. The Cat6a patch panel is a 10G series panel. It also can offer different port versions, such as 24 port Cat6a patch panel and 48 port Cat6a patch panel. The Cat6a patch panel features port labeling areas and port numbering for easy circuit identification. In addition, it offers maximum strength and durability. This Ethernet patch panel can be easily installed in a universal 19″ rack/cabinet or a wall-mounted bracket with a 1U standard height.

Difference Between Cat6 Patch Panel and Cat6a Patch Panel

In fact, there is no big difference between the Cat6 and Cat6a patch panels. The cat6 patch panel is used to manage the cat6 cables, and the cat6a patch panel is used to manage the cat6a cables. So the main difference between Cat6 patch panel vs Cat6a patch panel lies in the wire gauge specified for cat6 and cat6a cables – cat6a cables are thicker and bulkier than Cat6 cables.

Can Cat6 Patch Panel Work with Cat6a Cable?

Will it work if the Cat6a cable is installed on the Cat6 patch panel? There are several things to consider before answering it.

Will the Connectors Match?

The Cat6a cable is the improved version of the Cat6 cable. But they share the same RJ45 connectors. So there is no doubt that the Cat6a cable can be plugged into the Cat6 patch panel.

Will It Be Safe?

Since the Cat6a cables are thicker and bulkier than Cat6 cables, the corresponding minimum bend will be larger. This will change the installing requirements of cabling and the design of routing. For an instance, if the Cat6a cables are installed on the Cat6 panel, the thinker cables may be bend. So it will be not safe enough, users need to manage it more patiently and carefully.

Will It Work?

In general, the conductor determines if the connection is working. Then, since both the Cat6a cable and the Cat6 patch panel have the same RJ45 connectors, the Cat6a cable and the Cat6 panel can work together. Just as mentioned above, it is not safe enough.

Therefore, the Cat6a cables are able to run on the Cat6 panel. I still recommend not taking such an adventure. Because the cables may be out of work, which will cause damages to your business.


With the advancement and development of technology, today’s data centers require a more reliable and flexible cable management system. The Cat6 patch panel and Cat6a patch panel are integral parts of the Cat6 and Cat6a cable management. The above content has given some details about Cat6 and Cat6a patch panel. Hope it can help you to understand the two.