At NavePoint we get a lot of questions about network cabinets and server racks. We’ve been selling them for 15 years so we know what many of our customers want to know about them before making purchase decisions. Here is how we respond to the questions we get the most.
“What Size of Network Cabinet or Server Rack Do I Need?”
The height of an enclosure is measured by the number of rack units (RU) it has, with 1RU measuring 1.75 inches high. First you should determine which devices you are planning to store in the cabinet or rack and the total number of rack units, aka rack spaces, they will require, such as 12U or 24U. Then add to that the extra rack units you might need for:
- Rack-mount drawers to store patch cables, tools and other supplies
- Components you might add in the future
Server racks and network cabinets come in many depths, measuring front to back. Find out the deepest device you are going to store and add 3 inches to allow space for cables connecting in the rear.
The vertical capacities and depths of NavePoint racks and cabinets vary by series:
- 42U server cabinets – 42U, 31.5 to 47 inches deep
- Four-post open-frame racks− 9U to 45U, 22 to 40 inches deep
- Two-post open-frame racks− 6U to 45U, unlimited depth but no rear support
- Mid-depth cabinets− 12U to 24U, adjustable depth up to 33 inches
- Wall cabinets− 2U to 22U, 12 to 25 inches deep
- Wall-mount racks− 1U to 20U, up to 24.8 inches deep
“Does the Network Cabinet or Server Rack Fit the Room?”
Some cabinets and racks are housed in a large room in a data center, where space is not a big concern. But others are located in a small room or a cramped IT closet. If space efficiency is a major priority, consider these ways to get the most from what you have:
- Free up floor space for other uses by installing wall-mount cabinets and racks. Our wall-mount cabinets hold up to 200 pounds and our wall-mount racks hold up to 330 pounds.
- If you decide on floor-standing cabinets, remember that one large cabinet takes up less floor space than two smaller ones. It’s hard to beat the space efficiency of having all your components close together in one large 42U server cabinet.
- To further maximize your space, get vertical wall enclosures and vertical wall racks.
- For scalability, get racks and cabinets with flexible features that allow them to accommodate more types of equipment. For instance, some of our products have adjustable rack rails to hold different widths and depths. The front door on our Professional Series cabinets can be hinged on the right or left, allowing you to locate it in different parts of the room. There are many accessories to make your server rack even more flexible − from rack drawers to rack shelves to cable management devices.
“Will My Components Be Protected?”
If your server rack or network cabinet will be in a room that is locked or at least has some controlled access, an open-frame rack (with no doors or side panels) could be an economical option. But if there is any question about the security of the server room or closet, a lockable cabinet with a rugged exterior is your safest choice. Each NavePoint cabinet, from Basic Series to Professional Series, has a lockable front door and a powder-coated steel exterior over a welded frame. Clear doors are made with heat-treated, tempered glass for strength.
“Will My Components Stay Cool?”
Open-frame racks are hard to beat for keeping your network components cool. But if you need an enclosed cabinet, get one with features such as perforated doors and side panels for natural ventilation, and either built-in fans or openings to support separately purchased fans. Fans become necessary for larger cabinets that hold more heat-emitting components.
All NavePoint network cabinets have vents, perforated panels and/or the following features to keep equipment cool:
- Wall cabinets – two electric fans in top panel
- Mid-depth cabinets – two top openings for fans to be installed
- 42U server cabinets – abundant room for rack-mount fans
NavePoint offers a variety of fans to be mounted in network cabinets. Some fit in ports on the cabinet exterior, and others are rack-mount.
“Will It Be Hard to Access My Gear?”
An open-frame rack will give you instant access to networking equipment. But most enclosed cabinets have features that make them easy to access by authorized personnel. Look for cabinets with removable side panels. Alternatively, our Swing Gate Series offers the ultimate in easy access. Hinges toward the rear of a side panel enable the entire cabinet to swing forward for quick access to rear cables.
“How Affordable Is a Network Cabinet or Server Rack?”
Everybody has a different definition of “affordable.” So, when you shop for a network cabinet or server rack, find a company that offers a wide range with different price points so you can compare. As you can see above, NavePoint offers a huge assortment of enclosed cabinets and open racks to accommodate basic needs, economy, large server rooms, from basic to higher end.