Patch Cable (cord) in Networking

Ok… kinda two questions here… First is a basic question, the 2nd is a bit more specific to a situation I have where I work.

First question is: What is a “patch” cable (or cord)? I know it’s a length of Cat5 cable used in networking. I’m wondering if it’s different from normal Cat5 cable. Like, for example, is it a cross-over cable? Or is it just a short (but normal) Cat5 cable?

First question - part b: Am I correct that I’d need a “patch” cable to connect one port on a switch to another port on a 2nd switch?

2nd Question: What connections would be needed in the following setup to make sure that all devices could talk to each other?

You have 2 switches and 1 hub. The switches are each 24 port switches. The hub is a 12 port hub.

Can you just connect Switch 1 to Switch 2 and Switch 2 to Hub 1 and everyone can talk to everyone (total of 2 interconnects), or do you need to connect Switch 1 to Switch 2, Switch 2 to Hub 1, and Switch 1 to Hub 1 (total of 3 interconnects)? Or maybe there is another pattern I haven’t thought of?

Thanks in advance…

I have only heard of a patch cord to refer to a normal cat5 cable, not a crossover. Usually it refers to a shorter segemnt, say, one to six feet of cable, but not always.

Depends on how the ports on the switches work. You should just be able to, yes. But the patch cord from thw first switch will need to go into the “input” port on the second switch, and it may be the case that some switches require crossover cables to go into their input ports. I’m not entirely sure, and it would depends on the make and model.

Your original assesment was correct. You can attach switch two to switch one, and the hub to switch two.

A patch cable is straight through cable, not a crossover cable.


Done, stop there.
If you have a nwtwork set up than all devices should be able to talk to each other now.

Here’s a good site.

Don’t ever do that.

If someone on the network generates a broadcast message, switch 1 will receive the broadcast and send it to switch 2 (as well as to everyone connected to him), then switch two will do the same, so it will go into the hub, then back to switch 1, who send it out again, then it goes back to switch 2, back to the hub, back to switch 1, etc. etc. over and over forever and ever. This is going to cause every computer in your system to be flooded with broadcast messages, and your entire network will grind to a halt. This is called a “broadcast storm” and it causes problems with many computers. The broadcast storm will stop once you remove any cable in the loop, but some systems will no longer be able to talk at all on the network until you reboot them.

As was previously said, connect switch 2 to switch 1 and the hub to switch two and that’s it.

Note that this requires that the switches not be configured to stop one part of the network from talking to another part of the network. Switches can be programmed specifically to prevent anything on the hub from talking to switch 1, for example.

Most modern switches can be connected together using either a patch cable or a crossover cable. The switches are often smart enough to figure it out on their own which way the wires go. You may want to go into the switch configurations and disable the link speed detection for the ports that go from one switch to the other, and for the port that goes to the hub. If you don’t, then you’ll get a lot of odd network delays caused by the ports renegotiating their port speeds every now and then. It won’t stop anything from working, but it will make things slower. Note that you have to make the speeds match if you hard code them. If you’ve got one set for 10 MBit/sec and the other set to 100 MBit/sec they won’t be able to talk to one another.

Older switches will often have a port (usually port 1) that is designed to be connected to another switch. There will often be a switch on the front of the switch (a switch on a switch… heh. that’s confusing) to select whether it is connected with a straight through cable or a crossover cable.