18U Open Frame Server Rack (part 1)

My last post was about the 6U network cabinet I was using up until recently, I found a great price on an adjustable depth 18U open frame rack that was going to fit everything that I’m currently using and still have space to expand going forward. So, what’s changed since the last update? Well, quite a bit! The biggest item is a Motorola Quantar P25 repeater and some items to tidy up the ethernet cabling by including a 48-port patch panel to go with the 48-port PoE+ switch and a 1U cable management.  Most of the items that were previously in the cabinet are still on the 1U shelf but have been cable tied in place.   

So why did I go from using a network cabinet to an open frame rack? Well two reasons, the first being that I ran out of space in the 6U cabinet! also, the depth of the cabinet couldn’t take devices greater than 350mm in depth, and once I moved over to a 48 port PoE+ switch, it would not fit inside the cabinet as it’s 420mm depth. The other reason was heat, even though there’s plenty of ventilation slots you need a fan to move the warm air out of the cabinet. So I solved the heat issue by moving to an open frame rack as there is no places for warm air to pool and over time raise the temperature of the devices in the rack.

Naturally, this is still a work in progress so it will change as I add or remove items. 🙂

Home Network Reshuffle (yes again!)

So around this time last year I embarked upon the task to tidy up the home networking equipment and consolidate it into a cabinet with the idea to reduce the noise and physical appearance. Well it’s not finished as it’s developed into a continuous evolving process. I was soon to discover that buying only a 6U cabinet was not such a great idea, as this has limited the future growth as more items are added to service the growing needs. In its current iteration there’s 3x 1U devices taking up half of the space with a 1U shelf to keep airflow around the items that are not in a rack configuration.

I kind of think that I would have been better getting something closer to a half height server rack (around 20U-25U) that is mounted on castors so it can be moved easily when accessing the rear or sides. I’d still prefer to have it in a cabinet form factor but with sufficient air cooling without needing to use multiple fans thus creating a network cabinet oven! (the 6U cabinet is the dimensions of a family sized microwave oven)

So after running the setup the way it’s pictured above I found that I had a heat trap because the HP ProCurve 2910al-48G-PoE+ is actually too deep to fit in the cabinet so I had to remove the back cover so that it would fit. The heat trap was caused by the power strip (there’s 2) that is mounted on the rear supports so the ProCurve 2910al was effectively resting on the RB3011 and the power strip. So I lowered the RB3011 down by one cage nut to allow the heat to vent. This also allows the cabling to then go in between making it much tidier.

So as can be seen from the above picture the right hand side cabling is much more organised than it was. The mAP Lite that’s dangling from the switch was stuck on the Cisco 1841 rack ear, but there’s an issue with them when stuck on a metal surface there’s some interaction between an inductor and the magnetic field from the small magnets inside the case, this results in the ethernet not being able to negotiate the full speed of 100mb but only managing a 10mb connection with lots of errors. So having it hang like this, away from being stuck directly to a metal surface its operating as expected.

Home Network Redesign

So after many years (almost ten) of having all my networking hardware sitting on top of my old IBM eServer, it was finally time to tidy it up and reduce some ambient fan noise in the room. So the motivation for this was really the latter part, as there’s a few things in my computer/radio room that have fans running. The loudest one was from the HP 2524 ProCurve switch that has been the backbone of my home network until I recently retired it and replaced it with a fanless TP-Link 24 port managed switch. The benefit of the new switch is its speed (1Gb/100Mb/10Mb) where the HP is slower at only 100Mb/10Mb.

So here’s what I have so far (top to bottom) 24 port patch pannel, TP-Link 24 port managed switch, HP 2524 ProCurve (retired) Various Raspberry Pi’s, power board and 5v PSU and an original OpenSpot.

Eventually I’ll around to feeding the remainder of the house (ongoing 15 year round to it job!)

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