IPIQ: Delivering Professional-Quality Rack-Based Solutions
Installing an easy-to-manage and aesthetically pleasing rack-based IP Network requires discipline, planning and even a little bit of artistic flair. When installed as part of a home or small business network that includes AV equipment, proper organization and aesthetics can be especially critical to the user experience and value perception.
While there is no one-size-fits-all recipe for designing and installing a functional, manageable and nice-looking rack-based system, a lot of great tools and products are available to help you deliver professional-looking solutions. With a little planning, the right tools and equipment, and a reasonable eye for aesthetics, your customers will be glad they selected you to do the job.
Here are some tips that have saved me both time and sanity over the years.
What Should I Look for in a Rack?
There are an astounding number of rack options, heights, sizes and styles. Some things to consider:
AV vs. IT-based installations: Whether you select a traditional IT rack or an AV rack may very well depend upon the equipment being installed. IT racks are designed primarily for use with traditional IT equipment in which the I/O and cabling is on the front of the rack. This can make it easy for troubleshooting and network monitoring, but has drawbacks in terms of aesthetics. AV racks are typically shallower in depth, while also enabling a cleaner installation by encouraging the use of equipment with rear-facing I/O so that cabling is hidden in the back.
Air flow and cooling: Keeping the rack cool is vital to the function and longevity of the equipment installed. Depending on where the rack will be located and the air flow conditions of that location, you may need to augment the rack’s cooling capabilities. Multiple cooling options abound, with the only truly limiting factor being the noise level tolerated. Many silent or nearly silent options are available with ducting options to fit any install.