patch cable

Definition of patch cable in The Network Encyclopedia.

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What is patch cable (in computer networking)?

A short cable, usually unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) cabling, that connects a port on a patch panel to a port on a hub or a switch. Patch cables are usually terminated at both ends with RJ-45 connectors. Cable vendors usually supply patch cables in fixed lengths such as 1, 3, 6, 10, 25, 50, and 100 feet, and also in custom lengths. Patch cables usually come in various colors, which can be helpful in organizing the cabling joining devices on your equipment racks and avoiding «spaghetti».

You should use patch cables that meet the requirements of the equipment you are using. Category 5 patch cables, which are certified to 100 MHz, or enhanced category 5 patch cables, which are certified to 350 MHz and higher, are generally recommended.

Graphic P-4. Patch cable.


Be sure to purchase the correct type of patch cable. For example:

  • The wiring type (pinning) of the cable should match that of your installed premise cabling. Pinning types include TSB 568A, TSB 568B, and USOC, which are described in the table.
  • Use straight-pinning or crossover cabling. Crossover cabling, which has the send and receive wire pairs switched, is used primarily for connecting hubs.

Use patch cables with molded boots to prevent kinks from forming and to prevent pins from becoming bent through rough handling. Molded boots can also reduce the amount of crosstalk in the cable and allow it to perform at higher frequencies.


Category 5 UTP patch cables should be no longer than 10 meters.

Color Codes by Cable Type

UTP Pinning Type Pinning for Each Wire Pair
Blue 4 and 5
Orange 3 and 6
Green 1 and 2
Brown 7 and 8
Blue 4 and 5
Orange 1 and 2
Green 3 and 6
Brown 7 and 8
Blue 4 and 5
Orange 3 and 6
Green 2 and 7
Brown 1 and 8