Shelter from the Storm: New NEMA Enclosures and Outdoor Racks
Posted by Steve Bowman on Apr 13th 2023
It used to be that all a company’s IT equipment was located in its offices, safe from the elements and mostly safe from tampering and theft. But wireless networks have changed all that. Now high-tech is everywhere, from factory floor to windswept job site to sea-sprayed ship deck.
All this indoor/outdoor connectivity allows us to get more work done faster, but it presents a challenge in how to protect expensive IT equipment from unpredictable weather, industrial contaminants and unauthorized access.
Fortunately, there are products that allow you to install your pricey network electronics in about any environment and not worry about it getting wet, dirty or tampered with. NavePoint has been producing such enclosures for decades and we recently expanded two of our product lines of weatherproof enclosures in response to growing demand.
You now have more choices to fit your exact needs for NEMA indoor/outdoor enclosures to house your remote wireless LAN Wi-Fi equipment. They are perfect for hotspot applications and in hot temperatures and corrosive settings. We have also expanded our line of outdoor IP-rated rack enclosures that hold computer servers and other networking gear.
Read on to find out if these enclosures meet your need to keep your remote equipment safe and secure. We conclude by defining some of the terms used in rating enclosures’ protection levels.
NEMA Indoor/Outdoor Enclosures
What do they hold? The short answer is that these wall- and pole-mount indoor/outdoor NEMA enclosures hold whatever you want them to. A common use is for securing wireless access points for a remote LAN setup. But some companies use them to hold security and surveillance equipment. Others have utilized them for the installation of sensors and other industrial controls.
How are they used? They are typically used to hold equipment for remote wireless LAN Wi-Fi and hotspot applications. However, they fulfill so many other project requirements for our customers that we refer to them as “blank canvases.”
What are their defining features?
- Weatherproof: Some of these enclosures are rated NEMA 4 and IP66, totally sealed from dust and water. The other outdoor models are either NEMA 3R and IP24 or NEMA 3 and IP55. (See those definitions below.) They are also UV stabilized to resist sunlight.
- Rugged but easy to install: These enclosures are made of ABS plastic, which is high-impact and keeps out corrosive substances such as those found in industrial settings. But they are lightweight enough to be easy to install.
- Ventilated: Some of these boxes have a built-in fan that is thermostat-controlled so the equipment inside stays cool.
- Powered: Most of these NEMA enclosures have a 120 VAC module inside to power equipment.
- Secure: Each enclosure has a padlock hasp so it can be locked.
Where can I install them? Install them on any secure wall with the included brackets. To mount them to a pole, we offer optional kits that fit poles of different sizes.
What are their capacities? Each of our new NEMA enclosures is 14 inches tall by 10 inches wide. They are offered in depths of 6 inches or 4 inches.
How is equipment installed inside? Some of the models are kitted with a mounting plate. Others come with hook-and-loop tape. For those without a mounting plate, you can choose one from our line of blank mounting plates for these enclosures.
Outdoor IP-Rated Rack Enclosures
What do they hold? These four new rack enclosures are designed to hold network equipment such as computer servers, network switches, patch panels, power distribution units and other components related to the servers. The width is the standard 19 inches of most rack gear.
How are they used? Built to be located outdoors, they connect to remote applications such as wireless networks, CCTV, and traffic control systems. They are suitable for schools, businesses, IT shops, data centers and more.
What are their defining features?
- Weatherproof: They are rated IP66, so the interior is totally sealed off from dust and water.
- Ventilated: Each cabinet has vents and two temperature-activated fans to keep the inside cool.
- Secure: All have security locks and are made of 14-gauge, cold-rolled steel over a welded steel frame.
- Roomy: They are large and strong enough for big, heavy components such as servers.
- Flexible: To hold a variety of components, each cabinet has an adjustable depth of from 19.28 inches to 5.9 inches.
Where can I install them? All these cabinets are floor-standing.
What are their capacities? There are four height options: 9U, 12U, 18U and 26U. Each model has a load capacity of 220 pounds and a maximum interior depth (front to back) of 19.28 inches.
Enclosure Ratings − NEMA
NEMA is the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, which defines standards used in North America for different grades of electrical enclosures.
NEMA 4 means watertight. Such enclosures have a gasketed door and are intended for indoor or outdoor use mostly to protect against windblown dust and rain, splashing water, and hose-directed water. NEMA 4 also protects the interior from ice that forms on the enclosure.
NEMA 3, defined by NEMA, is “weather-resistant. Protects against falling dirt and windblown dust, against weather hazards such as rain, sleet and snow, and is undamaged by the formation of ice.” NavePoint’s NEMA 3R boxes protect the same as NEMA 3, as they feature a gasket that stops windblown dust.
Enclosure Ratings – IP
An enclosure also has an IP rating that indicates its level of “ingress protection,” or ability to stop solids and liquids from entering. An IP rating has two digits – IP55, IP66, etc. The first digit grades protection from solids and the second from liquids. This rating system was developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
Following are the IP ratings you see in our two new lines of enclosures discussed above.
IP24 protects from solid objects bigger than 12 millimeters and from water splashed from all directions.
IP54 protects from harmful deposits of dust and from water splashed from all directions.
IP55 protects from harmful deposits of dust and from low-pressure jets of water from all directions.
IP66 totally seals off the interior from dust and from strong jets of water.
NavePoint’s new weatherproof NEMA cabinets and accessories and outdoor IP-rated rack enclosures are in-stock and available with FREE standard same-day shipping.
If you have product questions or need recommendations, contact our U.S.-based team of experts at 1-866-312-5401 or email us.