Patch cords are actually cables and like any other cables; they are used to connect electronic devices. Using patch cords, you are able to use one system device with another. Two or more electrical equipment can be operated simultaneously when connected by patch cords. Hi-tech audio and visual systems and computer networks use this type of connectivity.
Take a look behind a home theatre system or a network of several computers and you will see a web of cords. Did you notice those short colored cables? Those are patch cords that serve as the path for signals to travel from one device to another.
Patch cords are color coded, mostly in yellow, green, white and brown. Did you see those colored terminal ports too? The outer bearing of the terminal ports are likewise colored accordingly, also in yellow, green, white and brown. The patch cords are plugged into several ports at the back of the device. The color makes it easy to distinguish which cord goes into which port.
The cord is no more than two meters in length and has a plug on both ends. One end is to be plugged into the terminal of the primary device and the other into the port of usually an accessory device. Since there could be more than two cords attached from one device to another, expect a mesh of cords. Some people find the entangled cords a bit messy, which prompted some manufacturers to come up with rubber clips to hold them. This has also paved the way for the introduction of patch cords that consist of several cords encapsulated in a single cable. Having a single cable with several cords reduces the clutter.
The RJ-45 is a well known patch cord in the world of computer networking. Networking systems use Ethernet patch cords, which are coaxial in nature. When you say coaxial, it means that the wirings inside the cable are primarily built for use in transmission lines. It transmits radio frequency signals and cable television signals through transmitters, receivers like antennas, and network connections in computers. When used in computer network, the Ethernet is the connecting cord between the hub or the main switch of the network and the computers involved.
Electronic signals are inversely proportional to distance. This means the longer the distance of the cord from the main switch to the receiving device, the weaker is the signal being transmitted. It should be that as much as possible the secondary device, being the recipient of the signal, is close to the mother source of the signal. That is why shorter patch cords are highly recommended. In the event where longer patch cords need to be utilized, use quality cables being that longer distance means more probability of interference while signal is en route.
Poorly made patch cords reduce the quality of the signal being transmitted and inevitably affects the performance of the device. A quality cable should be able to live up to what it is made for in the first place.