Using a patch panel system for voice communications will save you money in the long run. Most phone systems save their programming “at the jack”. What does this mean for the end user? This means when an extension (phone) needs to be relocated to another cubicle or location, the programming that is attached to that phone stays at the jack where the phone was plugged into. Moving a location often times is not as easy as just picking up the phone and plugging it in at the new location. Here is why. Let’s say the user has voicemail, greetings, and button programming. If the phone is moved to the new location and all of the programming stays at the jack the new location will need to be programmed to match the old location. This often times changes the extension number as well. This creates a scenario where the best solution is to actually move the cross connect in the telephone closet from the old jack to the new. This way the programming and extension number stay the same. So now we need to generate a service call to the vendor that installed the system often incurring a nice service charge and most likely a wait time for the technician to come on site.
Now for the magic of patch panels! The image below is a common 48 port patch panel. These panels provide easy management of connectivity between a user and other devices on the rack such as a telephone system or data switch. Keep in mind that your telephone system needs its cabling broke out onto patch panels as well. This creates a system easily managed by the end user eliminating the need to call out a service technician to move a “jumper” wire on a phone block every time someone moves from one location in the office to another. Simply look at the cable number on the face plate of the old jack and write down the location number. Now go to the new location and write that number down. Go to your phone closet and locate the patch panel, find the two numbers on the patch panel and move the cat 5 patch cable from old number to new, Voila! You just save a service call and wait time. Magic.
A patch panel system will cost more up front when cabling a new office or converting an old cable system. The upfront cost of a patch system is often passed over for less expensive means without considering the savings that will come not long after the system installation. Consider how often your office moves users around per year. Then consider the standard service call rate to move said user. When adding these numbers up it just makes sense to put in a patch system that can be easily managed by your staff.