A Comprehensive Guide on Rackmount Switches
The local area network or LAN and private business networks use various networking hardware for building strong connectivity and enabling seamless communication from one to multiple ends. There are several devices on a network, and network switches are integral ones that help establish connectivity, transfer or reroute data packets, and so on. Network switches are termed as a network bridge with multiple ports that help connect the devices within the network effectively. These switches act as the brain of the network as they use media access control (MAC) addresses to receive and forward the data to the destination. Owing to their increasing significance, today, they are available in different configurations in terms of types and number of ports, and automation features. Also, they can be customized to suit specific application requirements. These switches can be simply kept on a shelf or in any compact area. Some of them can be rack mounted, which helps keep them secure in one place and saves space. Rackmount switches have gained immense traction. These switches are widely preferred in high-capacity industrial networks for controlled transmission. In industrial applications like security and surveillance networks, business communications, automation networks as well as data centers, Rackmount switches are of great significance, mainly because of space constraints. Is that all? Obviously not. This article elaborates on rackmount switches.
What are Rackmount Switches?
As the name implies, rackmount switches are housed inside a framework known as a rack. These switches can be standalone units or stackable units with swappable line cards. They can also be a part of an integrated system and can be set up together with multiple network switches. Rackmount switches are designed to fit standard industry-size rack cabinets. Switches are available in two main categories – managed and unmanaged. The key difference between these switches lies in their automation features and functionalities. Rackmount unmanaged switches are plug and play, which enable seamless inter-device communication on the network. They are cost-effective and do not have automation functionality Rackmount managed switches offer flexibility to the network administrator to manage, control, and prioritize the network traffic. These are smart switches which can function on an autopilot mode. But they may not be easy to use and are suitable mainly for complex networks. Rackmount unmanaged switches can be easy to use, and come with a fixed configuration. Therefore, you can’t make any changes to the network. Thus, these switches are mostly used for small and medium businesses that demand limited data exchange.
What are the Benefits of Rackmount Switches?
Switches cover all the bases. As discussed earlier, these switches make use of the MAC addresses of the system connected within the network for data transmissions. Rather than interpreting the header information of the data packet, they identify the hardware address of the device. This makes the data transmission accurate and much speedy. Aside from data receiving and forwarding based on MAC addresses, the following are some beneficial features that have contributed to their popularity. Let’s have a look at them.
- Rackmount network switches are ideal for industrial networks demanding a huge amount of flexibility. Owing to their routing and switching capabilities, these switches can deliver the highest degree of flexibility. This makes them a preferred choice for different network segments. For instance, one segment could be a separate room, while another could be a production floor.
- These switches help enhance the security of the network. Rackmount switches can be placed into the protective metal cabinet that serves as an additional protection layer against the elements. These switches withstand harsh climates, pests, and other potential dangers. Rackmount unmanaged switches have a lockable port cover that helps ensure basic security and avoid direct tampering with the device. On the other hand, managed switches are equipped with advanced features that identify and control active threats, and protect data.
What are the Applications of Rackmount Switches?
Owing to the above-mentioned beneficial features, rackmount network switches can be used in the following applications.
- Manufacturing facilities
- Security and surveillance systems
- Data centers
These switches are ideal for all industrial applications demanding high-density Ethernet connectivity, wide bandwidth, and long-distance communication in areas experiencing harsh environmental challenges.
What are the Factors that need to be considered before Mounting Network Switches?
Rackmount switches have been recognized as the most important networking device. They enable simultaneous transmission of data packets efficiently than other networking devices. These switches can be installed on a desktop or in a standard industrial metal rack. But, before mounting these switches, it is important to consider the following important factors:
- Location: This is one of the important considerations when considering rackmount switches for your network. It is important to place rackmount switches at the center of all the devices you want to connect within the network. Also, consider the placement of the power outlet. So, it is easily accessible for cabling, installing, and maintaining systems in the rack.
- Mechanical and Circuit Overloading: It may be easy to choose what you need if you clearly know what you already have. It is of utmost importance to consider the physical dimension and the overall weight of your equipment. Make sure that the supply to rack assembly should not be overloaded. Also, avoid placing any equipment on the top of the rack.
- Temperature: This is one overlooked aspect when mounting the network switches. The temperature within rack assembly may be higher than the application space as switches and other networking devices are mounted on it. Therefore, it is important to check the rack-environment temperature before mounting the switches. It should vary between 0 and 40 °C.
Aside from these factors, make sure that the rack should be grounded properly to avoid costly expenses.
What are the Steps to Mount Network Switches on a Rack?
With these easy-to-follow steps, you can easily mount network switches on the rack assembly. So, let's get started.
- Step 1: Make sure you have all the required mounting accessories. Attach the given brackets to the switch using rack-mounting screws. Secure the lower rack-mounting screw first. This prevents bending of the bracket due to the switch weight.
- Step 2: If you need to mount only one switch in the rack assembly, then you can attach the power cord directly. If more than one network switches are to be mounted, then sequentially install all the switches one after another, and connect them to the power source.
- Step 3: Once done with the mounting of all network switches within the rack assembly, you can connect the switch rack to the power source. Do not forget to verify the correct type of power supply for your configuration.
Switches, whether rack-mountable or otherwise, are an integral part of any network. While most times unmanaged switches would suffice the demands, managed ones are required for complex and large networks. However, for managed switches, you need a networking professional to maintain or fix them. Overall, rack-mountable switches are definitely beneficial in various ways. If you plan to expand your existing networking using the above-mentioned networking devices, then you must source them a reliable, trustworthy industry player who will assist you in the right direction by understanding your application needs. With vast years of market presence, VERSITRON offers a wide range of network switches to fulfill any application need. The company specializes in providing industrial rugged switches, fiber optic switches, fiber media converters, Ethernet switches, and several network devices which are compatible with copper as well as fiber networks. Their networking devices are compatible with most devices in the networks and help increase the data transmission speed as well as distance.