Wall mount network racks are a space saving way to mount networking equipment. When installing IT equipment in a data closet or shared space, there often is not enough space on the floor to mount a full relay rack or full size cabinet. To maximize the usable area, the IT hardware, such as switches, routers or patch panels, can be mounted on a wall mount network rack. This keeps the equipment off the floor in a nicely organized fashion.
Like any rack or cabinet, wall mount racks are configurable with many options. Here is everything you need to know to select the right network rack.
Select the Right Size
Wall mount racks are a standard 19 inches wide. This is the width of most rack mountable networking equipment. However, they come in all different heights which are measured by rack units. Rack units, abbreviated RU or U, are sometimes referred to as rack space or for short spaces. One rack unit is 1.75 inches. Choose a network rack that has enough spaces to accommodate the equipment you are installing, plus blank spaces for future expansion. The most popular sized racks 8 RU, 16 RU and 20 RU.
Here are the common sizes of popular networking equipment.
- Patch Panels: 1-4 rack units
- Network Switch: 1-2 rack units
- Servers: 1-4 rack units
- Blade Servers: 5-10 rack units
- UPS: 1-2 rack units
- NAS: 1-2 rack units
- PDU: 1-2 rack units
You can see how quickly your wall mount rack can fill up.
As you install more and more equipment on your rack, you are also increasing the weight load. Make sure your rack can support the weight of all the equipment being installed. If you are unsure, you can contact the manufacturer, such as Cisco, to get the weights of their products.
Open or Closed
The most common type of wall mount rack is open frame. Open frame racks are easy to assemble and install, hold equipment well and are relatively inexpensive. However, they do not provide security for your equipment. If you will be installing the networking equipment in a public area, a wall mount cabinet will allow you to secure your items. A wall mount cabinet is similar to a wall mount rack, except all sides are enclosed and the front door usually locks.
If you will need to frequently access the back on the rack, their are numerous options to make it easier. The most common is a swing out rack. One side of the rack will swivel out giving you direct access to the rear connections of the equipment.
If swinging is not your desired way to access the back of the rack, a pivoting wall mount rack is an option. The top of the pivoting rack tilts forward so you have greater access to the back of the equipment.
Any of these options generally cost 40% more than standard racks.
For some installations, a traditional wall mount rack won’t fit. In these conditions, a vertical wall mount rack could be the solution. This keeps the equipment close to the wall instead of protruding off of the wall into the room. Vertical racks can be installed under a desk or against a wall and accommodate networking equipment up to 4 RU.
Simple and Inexpensive
When you only need to hang a few networking items that aren’t very deep, a wall mount bracket is an ideal solution. They come in 1-6 rack units and securely mount your equipment to the wall. Hinged brackets swivel out from the wall giving you easy access to the back of the equipment. Wall mount brackets are only 6″ inches deep, so you cannot hang servers from them, but they work well for patch panels.