A patch cable, patch cord, or patch lead is a thin optical or electrical cable utilized to connect a source to an amplifier, headphone jack to a headphone, or to any other device for audio signal routing. Devices of various kinds are plugged with patch cords. It may be a phone line to an amplifier or a stereo system to an iPod or other portable media player. Patch cords are also used for high frequency signaling in networks such as a telephone network. There are numerous advantages in using these cables. Below are few examples:
o They provide a cost-effective means of connecting devices together. o They are less susceptible to interference from other signals that could interrupt the communication. This is because the network cables are designed with varying levels of immunity. o There is no requirement for extra transmitting and receiving equipment, or for additional wiring, since patch cables can be connected anywhere they are needed.
Patch Cables are available in a wide variety of configurations, providing several opportunities for application. For instance, patch cables are used to connect two devices in a computer system to ensure that there are no noises that interrupt the transfer of data from one source to another. In addition, patch cables are useful when connecting two or more devices in a signal processing system that requires a connection between input and output elements of an analog or digital programmable logic controller. In the latter situation, patch cabling allows two separate components to interface with each other without using dedicated connection cables.
Patch Cables can be classified into different classes based on their characteristics and functions. The most common type of patch cables are optical or electrical, employing transceivers and connectors that use fiber optic or electrical transmitters. Patch Cables that consist of multiple fibers are called Fiber Optic Patch Cables. There are also patch cables that are made of an Encapsulated Copperucer (EC) which has several conductors embedded within it, and they are used in places where a cable can be long and unwieldy.
Patch Cables in this category are used in signal processing applications. The next most common type of fiber optic patch cables in this category are electrical and optical patch cables. Electrical patch cables are classified as fiber optic electrical and optical electrical patch cables. The third type in this category are encapsulated fiber optic patch cables, which can carry both signals and information.
Patch Cables can be further categorized into four more broad categories based on the physical characteristics and function. These are fiber insulated patch cables, polyethylene triester (PE), nylon coated fiber patch cables, and metal shield and foil patch cables. Patch cabling is usually shielded using some type of plastic to prevent electromagnetic interference. This prevents undesired interference from affecting the performance of the information that is being exchanged.
Fiber optic data centers use long fiber insulated patch cables for their Ethernet network. Patch cabling in this case would be classified under the category of optical transport cables. Another example would be patch cables used in industrial and office applications for data transmission and reception. Some of these are classified as carrier Ethernet converters while others are classified as RF modules.
Patch panels or patch cords are often used to terminate power signals. They are sometimes used as data cables to connect terminals to the main routers and switches. Other uses include connecting power outlets to transformers, patch panels in communication networks, as transfer devices for personal computers, and even as telecommunication modules for outdoor IP networks. Today, patch panels and patch cords form the integral part of various communication and computer networking applications.