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Types of Racks, Fixtures, and Cable Access Designs

Types of Racks, Fixtures, and Cable Access Designs

Posted by NavePoint on Jan 14th 2021

There are many types of racks and cabinets used to mount EIA-310 equipment in various industries and environments.

This blog will go over the common types and features of racks and cabinets from a high-level perspective. We will look deeper into each type and feature, with the pros and cons, in upcoming blogs.

Types of Environments

The type of environment is the first factor to consider when choosing between a rack and cabinet. The most common types of environments are:

  • Outdoor/Harsh Environment
  • Quiet Acoustic Environment
  • Indoor Environment

Outdoor/Harsh Environment

Applications such as outdoor power/network distribution or indoor industrial automation located at washdown zone requires electrical equipment to be mounted in an environment exposed to harsh elements. To help protect the mounted equipment, Outdoor NEMA Rated Cabinets or Enclosures are required.

As the name suggest, the NEMA rating is the number one factor in cabinet selection.

The National Electrical Manufacturer Association (NEMA) uses a standardized rating system for enclosures. The standard rates a cabinet’s ability to protect interior equipment from dust, rain, and corrosion.

Typically, an outdoor cabinet rated at NEMA 3 is a minimum requirement. The higher the rating number, the better the cabinet will perform at sealing its interior from the external environment. As the rating increases, the type of cabinet features intensify such as extensive sealing, venting and the type of paint, which could cause the price of cabinets to rise significantly.

The second major factor to take into consideration in outdoor cabinets is thermal management. Unlike tall server cabinets in networking centers, the major heat source, or the lack of heat for outdoor cabinets, often originates from external factors like the sun. It is important for outdoor cabinets to have sufficient insulation built-in for extreme heat in the summer or extreme cold in the winter.

Quiet Acoustic Environment

Applications such as recording studios require what is often called Quiet Cabinets which provide easy access to equipment and soundproofing to minimize physical noise.

As the name suggests, the ability to contain sound from the electrical equipment is the number one factor in cabinet selection.

The second factor to consider is thermal management. Components such as quiet fans, compact spaces, and soundproofing materials can have a negative impact to thermal dissipation. Therefore, understanding the trade-offs and what is most important for each application is key to selecting the right Quiet Cabinet.

Indoor Environment

Most network enclosures are located indoors or in a mild environment. The two main types of enclosures are a cabinet and a rack, and two major feature categories are wall mount versus floor standing. We have discussed the pros and cons of both racks versus cabinets, and wall mount versus floor standing in a previous blog post.

Fixtures: 4-post versus 2-post

We will cover the pros and cons of a 4-post design versus a 2-post design in a future blog post. In essence, 2-post racks have only two mounting rails, and 4-post racks have four mounting rails. The two additional mounting rails on a 4-post design allows more weight per rack unit and requires more space.

Lastly, distinct designs offer different ways to access the cabling in the back. We will cover individual designs in detail in a future blog post, so make sure you sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.

Cable Access Rack Designs

  • Center mount
  • Side Mount
  • Vertical Mount
  • Rotating

Center Mount

Center racks, also called pivoting racks, mount at approximately the mid-depth of the equipment. Example: NavePoint’s Pivoting Low Profile 2 Post Wall Mount Server Rack allows the user to rotate the setup and access it from all directions.

Side Mount

Side racks mount the equipment facing 90 degrees from the mounting wall. This results in the side of the equipment facing forward, but both the front and the rear of the equipment is accessible from the sides. Side mount racks are also popular for closets located under stairways where the wall facing toward the door is slanted. Check out the NavePoint Side Load Wall Mount Racks.

Vertical Mount

Vertical cabinets mount the equipment vertically enabling a low profile setup that saves space. The vertical mount cabinets also allow easy access to cabling from the bottom. NavePoint’s Vertical Wall Mount Rack Enclosure - 36 Inch Server Depth is a good example.


There are many designs of cabinets and racks that rotate the mounting rails to access cabling in the back. The designs offer different costs, capabilities and limitations.

The most common designs can be categorized into the following categories:

  • Swing Gate
  • Hinged Swing Gate
  • Slide and/or rotate

NavePoint’s 18U Swing Gate Wallmount Rack with 24in Depth and 9U 600mm Depth Hinged Swing-Out Network Cabinet are good examples.

Wrapping Up

Cabinets and racks come in many types and designs. They all meet certain requirements for different application/industries. As technology and user needs continue to innovate, the enclosure designs will evolve as well. Visit NavePoint’s website to find a wide range of rack and cabinet options or contact NavePoint’s sales or customer service teams to learn more about how we may be able to help with your specific requirements. We continually launch new products, so the perfect solution for your application could be just around the corner. Also, feel free to email Erin (Director of Marketing) at or Vincent (Product Development Manager) at with any questions, concerns or product innovation ideas.