Indoor Telecom Rack Selection: Essential considerations for telecommunication facilities


Space matters in telecommunications facilities. The right racks and cabinets can help operators maximise the productivity of every square meter.

Telecommunications racks and cabinets are commonly used in telephone exchanges (also known as central offices or head ends), content delivery network (CDN) server rooms and environments where network switching, routing and optical transmission equipment are deployed.

Telecommunication racks provide the centralised location for the network equipment that routes Internet Protocol traffic between end users and data centres, such as switches, routers, optical and copper patch panels, and power distribution units (PDUs). 

As local points of presence, telco facilities can also provide edge computing and storage in some cases, hosting servers too.  Racks also contain the mundane but essential mounting rails, thoughtful cable routing and management to prevent the spaghetti monster effect, ventilation and airflow control features, and security locking mechanisms.

Racks and cabinets keep all this equipment organised, making it easier to access for maintenance and upgrades, allowing for better cable management, and promoting proper airflow to help keep equipment cool.

A guide to selecting an indoor telecom rack

When selecting an indoor telecom rack for a telecommunication facility, there are several important considerations.

  1. Airflow and heat management: Keeping networking equipment at optimal operating temperatures requires efficient airflow and heat management. It is critical that telecommunication racks have proper ventilation, perforated doors, and sometimes strategically placed fans to facilitate airflow and dissipate heat generated by the equipment.
  2. Energy consumption & power distribution: Telecom racks must be designed to reduce energy consumption; aisle containment solutions are a proven way to reduce cooling costs. Adequate power distribution within the telecommunications rack is essential. The solution involves selecting energy-efficient equipment, using power distribution units (PDUs) with power monitoring capabilities, and implementing intelligent power management solutions.
  3. Cable management: Managing high copper and optical cable density is critical for ensuring organised and efficient connectivity. Telecommunication racks should offer cable management features such as cable trays, horizontal and vertical cable managers, and patch panels to facilitate proper routing, labelling, and organisation of cables.
  4. Equipment installation: The ease of installation and accessibility of equipment are important factors. Telecommunication racks should have adjustable mounting rails, tool-less installation options, and clear markings for the positions of rack units (U). As a result, equipment can be installed, removed, and replaced quickly and conveniently.
  5. Physical security and compliance: A telecommunication rack must include physical security measures to prevent unauthorised access, including locks on the doors, side panels, and cable management systems. Smart locks can log access using RFID cards or biometrics.
  6. Fire detection and suppression: Smoke detectors and fire alarms are essential to safeguard racks and their contents from fire. When combined with fire suppression systems, such as clean agents or gas-based suppression, damage can be minimised.
  7. IP rating: If the telecommunication rack is deployed in an environment where dust and moisture levels are high, then an IP (Ingress Protection) rating may be required. It indicates the rack’s ability to resist solids and liquids, ensuring it can be used in specific environmental conditions.
  8. Size: The size of the rack or cabinet should match the amount and type of equipment you intend to store. They are available in various sizes, typically measured in ‘rack units’ (a standard size for network equipment where 1U equals 1.75 inches). 47U is now the most common height, having replaced 42U as the most common for a 12% gain within the same footprint.  Taller racks allow more equipment to be installed on the same floor area, which can be extremely useful in high-density or space-constrained facilities. Consider not only your current needs but also likely future expansion requirements.

Our 40 years of experience in designing and manufacturing indoor and outdoor enclosure systems make Rainford the ideal partner to guide you through the maze of telecom rack and cabinet selection decisions. Our goal is to provide every customer with the most appropriate enclosure solution for their individual requirements. We do that by combining flexible, modular, and upgradeable designs with engineering and manufacturing expertise to provide fully customised enclosures and ancillary equipment.

 Get in touch to explore our range of telecommunication racks and discuss your requirements.

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