Menu
This one patch panel trick will make all your cables the right length

This one patch panel trick will make all your cables the right length

OK, PatchBox is a product, not a trick, but its goal is to maker cabling a rack neater and quicker

Remember that one time the cable you grabbed from the box was exactly the right length for the run from patch panel to server shelf?

What if every patch cable you picked up were just the right length?

That's the goal of 1-year-old Austrian company PatchBox, which wants to eliminate tangles and speed up network moves, adds and changes with its system of retractable cables in rack-mountable cassettes. It's showing the product in the start-up hall at the Cebit trade show in Hanover, Germany, this week.

PatchBox sells kits of 24 cassettes that slot into a 1U module just under the patchboard, right where you would usually put your horizontal cable management system. Each shelf comes with four Patch Catches -- essentially cable posts that mount on the sides of the rack, around which you can route the cables on their way between patch boards.

Each cassette contains 1.3 meters (4.3 feet) of Ethernet or optical cable and a steel spring mechanism that pays out the cable to the right length. It also pulls both ends of the cable in flush against the front of the cassette when they are disconnected.

The Ethernet cable is flat Cat. 6 with snagless connectors, while the optical cables come in OS2, OM3 and OM4 versions.

Within the year, PatchBox expects to release another version with 2.3 meters of Cat. 6A cable, with a connector at each end of the cassette rather than both in the front.

"The current version is not really suitable for data centers because of the cable length, and they need to be able to patch from front to back," said PatchBox co-founder CEO Alexander Geng.

The idea for the system came to him when he was setting up racks, spending an inordinate amount of his time untangling overly long cables.

You can see Geng working with the PatchBox system in this video.

The company claims installations can be up to 80 percent quicker using the system.

That even includes fixing the shelf to the rack, thanks to a special mounting screw: "Instead of putting the cage nut around the back, you pull it from the front so you don't get bloody fingers," said CTO Josef Hofstätter.

That convenience has a price -- in this case, around €800 (US$889) for a rack of 24 Ethernet cassettes, or between €1000 and €1100 for the optical version, depending on cable type.

That's a bit steep if all you want to do is tidy up the cables around the back of your PC -- instead, you could see whether that novelty retractable Ethernet cable you picked up at a trade show would do the trick.

For cabling environments with a lot of moves and changes, though, the time saved will mount up, according to Hofstätter.

He gave the example of a busy hotel conference center, where the network manager spends an hour or more each day reconfiguring the network to accommodate different events. In that environment, he said, a PatchBox would pay for itself within a year.

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Cebit 2016

Featured

Slideshows

Reseller News launches inaugural Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News launches inaugural Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomed 2015 and 2016 inductees - Darryl Swann, Dave Rosenberg, Gary Bigwood, Keith Watson, Mike Hill and Scott Green - to the inaugural Reseller News Hall of Fame lunch, held at the French Cafe in Auckland. The inductees discussed how the channel can collectively work together to benefit New Zealand, the Kiwi skills shortage and the future of the industry. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Reseller News launches inaugural Hall of Fame lunch
Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

​As the channel changes and industry voices deepen, the need for clarity and insight heightens. Market misconceptions talk of an “under pressure” distribution space, with competitors in that fateful “race for relevance” across New Zealand. Amidst the cliched assumptions however, distribution is once again showing its strength, as a force to be listened to, rather than questioned. Traditionally, the role was born out of a need for vendors and resellers to find one another, acting as a bridge between the testing lab and the marketplace. Yet despite new technologies and business approaches shaking the channel to its very core, distributors remain tied to the epicentre - providing the voice of reason amidst a seismic industry shift. In looking across both sides of the vendor and partner fences, the middle concept of the three-tier chain remains centrally placed to understand the metrics of two differing worlds, as the continual pulse checkers of the local channel. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable, in association with Dicker Data and rhipe, examined the pivotal role of distribution in understanding the health of the channel, educating from the epicentre as the market transforms at a rapid rate.

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel
Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

After Hours made a welcome return to the channel social calendar last night, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and resellers descending on The Jefferson in Auckland to kickstart 2017. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017
Show Comments