How to cross connect network switches to patch panels

Written by dave wilson
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How to cross connect network switches to patch panels
Configure a LAN using a partial mesh design for failsafe redundancy. (Patch Panel image by Phil2048 from Fotolia.com)

Connecting network switches to form a local area network (LAN) can be accomplished with only a single cable connection between each access switch (a switch that supports workstation connections) and a core switch (a central network switch that handles traffic between all access switches and the Internet). However, if a single connection or core switch fails, all workstations connected to the access switch that used the failed connection or core switch, will lose network connectivity. Establish a partial mesh network configuration to ensure that there is no single point of failure to the core switch from the access switches.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • One layer 2 network switch installed in an edge network closet IDF (Intermediate Distribution Frame)
  • Two duplicate core network switches installed in the primary network room MDF (Main Distribution Frame)
  • Four CAT6 patch cables
  • Two patch panels connected between the IDF and the MDF with labelled ports

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Plug one of the CAT6 patch cables into an access port on the first core switch. Plug the other end of the CAT6 patch cable into a patch panel that connects to the IDF and note the port number. Plug a CAT6 patch cable into an access port on the second core switch. Plug the open end of the CAT6 patch cable into a patch panel that connects to the IDF. Note the number labelled on the patch panel port.

  2. 2

    Connect one CAT6 patch cable into a port on the layer 2 network switch that is in the IDF. Connect the CAT6 patch cable open end into the patch panel port that has the same port number label as the port to which you just connected the first core switch in the MDF.

  3. 3

    Plug a CAT6 patch cable into a second port on the layer 2 network switch and then plug the open end of the CAT6 patch cable into the patch panel port that has the same port number label as the port to which you just connected the second core switch in the MDF. The layer 2 switch is now connected to the dual core switches so if a connection to one core switch or the core switch itself fails, devices connected to the layer 2 switch in the IDF will continue to have network access.

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