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How Rack Shelves Can Make Your Network Equipment More Flexible and Functional

How Rack Shelves Can Make Your Network Equipment More Flexible and Functional

Posted by Steve Bowman on May 18th 2023

With the computer networking world continuing to evolve at warp speed, it is hard to predict what components will be in your equipment rack in the coming years. One thing is for sure: You will be making future upgrades and reconfigurations to your network, and such work is usually time-consuming.

But there is a fairly simple way to build flexibility into your network and to shorten the time it takes to make such improvements: install rack shelves. Shelves provide a secure but easier-to-reconfigure home for your network gear. Benefits include:

  • Versatility: They can hold just about anything – servers, routers, switches, power distribution units (PDUs), audio and video equipment, uninterruptible power supplies (USPSs), storage devices, and more.
  • Small-device friendliness: Rack shelves are great not just for large items like servers, but for components that might be too small to attach with rack screws, like laptop computers, keyboards, DVD players, cables, adapters, storage devices, etc.
  • Ability to make quick changes: Shelves let you change out components in seconds without having to bother with rack screws. Just unplug and remove.
  • Strength and capacity: Steel rack shelves hold a lot of weight − a few NavePoint models support over 240 pounds. And they provide a lot of surface area for storage, such as our 38-inch-deep cantilever rack shelf. Imagine what you could fit onto a surface that’s 19 by 38 inches!

This blog post highlights four types of NavePoint rack shelves that can help make your network gear more flexible for easier upcoming changes:

  • Cantilever rack shelves
  • Four-post rack shelves
  • Cabinet shelves
  • Server rack rails.

Cantilever Rack Shelves

Cantilever rack shelves are so named because they fasten to a rack on only one end, the front or the rear. You might think this limits their weight capacities, but not so with NavePoint’s cantilever shelves. Our standard models hold from 22 pounds to 55 pounds. But that’s not all. For your larger, heavier components, our 2U cantilever center-weighted shelves come in two pieces, one mounting from the front of the rack and the other from the rear. The combined surface area creates a 38-inch-deep shelf that holds 132 pounds on one of our models, and a 20-inch shelf that holds 110 pounds on two other models.

Other benefits of cantilever rack shelves:

  • Size variety: Racks come in many sizes, so our cantilever shelves do too. Our 19-inch-wide shelves come in 10 depths, from 6 inches to 38 inches. This can handle most of your components – routers, modems, monitors, tower computers, and more.
  • Accessibility: Cantilever rack shelves have an open front, which makes it easy to access items they hold. This is particularly useful in warehouses where quick and easy access to inventory is necessary.
  • Durability: Cantilever rack shelves such as NavePoint’s are made of heavy-duty, cold-rolled steel, which is ideal for storing weighty, bulky items.

Four-Post Rack Shelves

If you want to get more out of your four-post rack, NavePoint offers a line that combines rock-solid strength with flexible features. Here are four benefits of our four-post rack shelves:

  • Strength: With four attachment points, four-post rack shelves are known for their impressive weight capacities. Depending on shelf size, NavePoint’s models can hold from 99 pounds to a scale-tipping 242 pounds.
  • Size variety: We probably have whatever shelf depth you need, with a choice of 14 depths, from 10 inches up to 32 inches.
  • Flexibility: Not all four-post racks have the same depth, so we offer five shelves that can adjust to different rail depths: 14 to 16 inches, 17-20 inches, 22-24 inches, 26-29 inches, and 30-33 inches. These same five models can slide forward like a drawer so you can reach your electronic components more easily.
  • Smart functionality: Our five rack shelves that can be adjusted to fit a range of different rail depths also can slide forward like a drawer so you can reach your electronic components more easily.

Cabinet Shelves

Due to the popularity of NavePoint’s Professional Series, Performance Series, and Swing-Gate Series cabinets, we now offer rack-mount cabinet shelves specifically sized for those series. The shelves are:

Each standard 19-inch-wide shelf is made of cold-rolled steel, holds up to 55 pounds, and is perforated to generate air flow within the cabinet.

Server Rack Rails

Another type of rack shelf is a pair of server rack rails that mount horizontally on the front and back of a rack. The rails form secure ledges to hold a computer server without having to mount the server directly with screws to the vertical rack rails. Our shelf rails have several useful features:

  • They are made of cold-rolled steel and hold up to 110 pounds.
  • The rails have an adjustable width, from 16 inches to 33.25 inches, to fit on your rack whether it is 19, 23, or 30 inches wide.
  • Of the two models, one has a standard rail that is 2.5 inches wide and the other has a full depth rail that is 2.75 inches wide for a bit more support.

Selecting the Right Rack Shelf for the Application

Application Recommended Shelf
Desktop PCs & tower servers 1U Vented Sliding 4-Post Adjustable 26”-29” Deep
Uninterruptible power supplies 1U Vented Sliding 4-Post Adjustable 30”-33” Deep
Large switches 1U Vented Sliding 4-Post Adjustable 30”-33” Deep
Standard switches 1U Vented Cantilever Shelf 8” Deep with Lip
Patch panels 2U Cantilever Shelf 14” Deep
Mouse keyboard laptop 1U Vented Sliding 4-Post Adjustable 22”-24” Deep
Amplifiers 1U Vented 4-Post Shelf 24” Deep
Stereo receivers 1U Vented 4-Post Shelf 24” Deep

NavePoint’s new cantilever shelves, four-post rack shelves, cabinet shelves, and server rack rails, are in-stock and available with FREE standard same-day shipping.

Questions? Need recommendations? Contact our U.S.-based team of experts at 1-866-312-5401 or email us at