wall plate

Definition of wall plate in The Network Encyclopedia.

What is Wall Plate (in computer networking)?

Wall Plate a cabling fixture attached to a wall in a work area for connecting computers to the network. Also called a faceplate.

How Wall Plate Works

Wall plates can have RJ-45 jacks for 10BaseT networks (which resemble household RJ-11 telephone wall jacks), BNC jacks for 10Base2 networks, or SC jacks for networks that use fiber-optic cabling. The back end of the connector joins a horizontal cable that runs inside the wall or through a false ceiling or floor to a patch panel in the wiring closet for that floor. Computers are then connected to the wall plate by a short unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) cable called a drop cable. Wall plates typically come in mono-port, dual-port, and quad-port configurations.

Wall plates are an important feature of a permanent networking installation because they enable stations to be easily disconnected and reconnected to the network and they protect cables from damage. Flush wall plates are flat, like AC outlets, but angled wall plates are often a better choice because they offer better protection from excessive bending and from contact with heavy or sharp-edged furniture.

Graphic W-1. A flush wall plate and an angled wall plate.

NOTE

You can get special wall plates for serial interfaces that use DB connectors such as DB9 or DB25. These wall plates are used in mainframe computing environments in which dumb terminals are connected to mainframe hosts by using RS-232 serial lines.

TIP

Be sure to label or number wall plates so that you can easily identify the port on the patch panel to which they connect.

If you can’t run cabling inside walls and must instead tack cabling directly onto the interior wall surface, use surface-mount boxes instead of wall plates. These are box-shaped adapters that screw onto the wall and have side or face jacks for connecting cables.

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