IPIQ: Delivering Professional-Quality Rack-Based Solutions
Equipment width: While 19 inches is the traditional standard for rack-mounted network hardware, some vendors make custom sizes for other types of equipment. Check what size of rack your equipment requires.
Security options: With thousands of dollars of equipment on the line, select a rack that helps meet the customer’s security goals. Locking cabinets and tinted door glass can help keep prying eyes and hands out of the network.
Ethernet cable comes in a variety of color and connector options. Using different colors for different jobs (i.e. internet feed is black, data network is blue, VoIP phones are red) can dramatically decrease troubleshooting time and make additions to the network easier. If possible, plan your install ahead of time so you can pick premade cable lengths in the desired colors. For custom lengths, add a spool of wire that matches the color scheme you have chosen. Also, choose the right cable ends, as RJ45 crimp-type ends are not all created equal. I like to spend a little more up front and get an end that can support multiple duty cycles.
Don’t Overlook Power Management
Use a rack-mounted power strip to keep the rack clean and more easily manage power cords. IP-based power switches are becoming more popular and can be used to remotely monitor power, reboot a machine, or power down a system on a schedule. Also consider using battery backup to increase fault tolerance and minimize equipment failures. When planning for power needs, keep growth in mind so there is capacity for additional devices that will surely be added.
Label, Label, Label
Investment into a good-quality labeler is a must. With any kind of network, labeling the lines, devices and even rack shelves can save you a lot of headaches. Assuming there are other contractors coming in behind you, labels will minimize potential conflicts and help indicate where additional devices should be connected to the network.