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Rack Enclosure Basics and Buying Guide

Rack enclosure, an effective solution to a tidy rack cable environment, has been a popular choice for IT technicians. Conventionally, being a kind of cable organizer, the rack mount enclosure is widely used in data centers to house, organize, manage and protect fiber optic cables. With such great significance, it’s necessary for us to explore this device.

Rack Enclosure Basics

In the beginning, let’s drive from physical features of the rack mount enclosure, including rack units, accessible types, and loaded items.

Rack Unit of Rack Enclosure

Specifically, the rack enclosure is designed into a 19-inch rack mount. When it comes to application, the rack units of this fiber optic enclosure are available in 1U, 2U, 3U, and 4U in the market. Usually, users may prefer to choose two or more 1U rack mount enclosures instead of buying one rack mount enclosure 2U, 3U or 4U type. For 1U and 2U rack mount enclosures, they are accessible both from front and rear with a drawer sliding forwardly or backwardly; while 3U and 4U rack mount enclosures are featured with a fixed bulkhead design.

 Rack Enclosure Units

Figure 1: Rack Enclosure Units

Accessible Types of Rack Enclosure

Since the rack mount enclosure 1U version is commonly used in organizing server rack, we take 1U rack mount for a case to study this feature. Altogether, there are three types of rack enclosures: cover removable, slide-out, and swing-out fiber enclosures.

Compared with a cover removable type, the slide-out and swing-out fiber enclosures are more favored. Neglecting the fact that the cover removable type is the cheapest one among these three types, the slide-out and swing-out types are more convenient for their pull-out sliding trays. In that way, users don’t have to remove the whole fiber enclosure from the rack to gain internal access.

Accessible Types of Rack Enclosure

Figure 2: Accessible Types of Rack Enclosure

Loaded Items:FAP or MPO/MTP Cassettes

Catering to different requirements for cabling, different accessories are loaded with rack mount enclosures: fiber adapter panels (FAPs) and MPO/MTP cassettes.

A rack enclosure with FAPs can be applied in both pre-terminated and field-terminated cabling environments. Generally, adapter patch panels are available to connect with LC, SC and MPO/MTP fiber cables. According to adapter numbers on FAPs, rack mount enclosures can support up to 96 fibers. In most cases, a 1U rack mount enclosure can support up to 4 FAPs, while a 4U rack mount enclosure can support up to 12 FAPs.

Besides FAPs, rack enclosures can also be loaded with MPO/MTP cassettes, providing secure transitions between MPO/MTP and LC or SC connectors. As a pre-terminated rack mount patch panel, this rack enclosure is designed to achieve interconnections between MTP/MPO backbone and LC/SC patching. When in a 1U rack space, rack mount enclosures loaded with MPO/MTP cassettes can support up to 144 fibers , such as the FS FHX 1U rack mount enclosure of ultra-high density.

Rack Enclosure loaded with FAPs or MPO or MTP Cassettes

Figure 3: Rack Enclosure loaded with FAPs or MPO/MTP Cassette

Buyers’ Guide

Through the above basic introduction of the rack enclosure, we can find it can never be an easy task to select a suitable rack enclosure. There are many factors you need to consider, such as rack units, accessible types, and loaded items. Still, there are other factors needed to be taken into considerations, such as the number of ports you need. And when it comes to the patch panel, you have to figure out whether the fixed or removable front panels are needed. Besides, you still need to think about the way to do fiber termination: splicing or pre-terminated. Last, but not the least, your budget for this purchasing. Obviously, all these factors, mentioned or not in this article, can have an impact on configurations or combinations of rack enclosures, contributing to your final decision. By the way, if you are looking for the detailed guidance of a 1U rack enclosure, you can refer to the article FS 1U Rack Enclosure Types and Selection Guide.

All You Need Is 1U Cable Manager

Have you been fed up with a frequently messy network, performance issues, and data transmission errors? 1U cable manager comes in, all your problems out. As its name shows, the 1U cable manager is a device placed in front of a cabinet or rack and manage all sorts of cables, like fiber, coax, patch cables, etc. In that way, cables can be well-organized and protected. Here, “1U” refers to the height of racks or cabinets of a standard unit, usually 1.75 inches height. Therefore, 1U cable management also refers to the horizontal cable management.

Types of the 1U Cable Manager

Altogether, there are four common types of 1U horizontal cable manager in the market: horizontal cable managers with finger duct, D-ring, brush strip, and the L-shaped horizontal cable manager. Each type has its own traits and applications.

1U Horizontal Cable Manager with Finger Duct

The horizontal cable management device of this type is one of the most popular solutions to organize cables in the market. This 1U cable manager consists of three parts: 1U cable management panel with pass-through holes, finger ducts, and a removable top cover. The finger ducts and the pass-through holes are designed to route cables and reduce the cable strain. As for the removable cover, it makes bundled cables to be easily added or removed; besides, it protects cables from damage or dust. In most cases, this cable manager is made of plastic and is available in single-sided or dual-sided. The dual-sided horizontal cable organizer can support for front and back cable management in a more flexible way.

figure 1 single-sided and dual-sided 1u cable managers with finger ducts

Figure 1: Single-sided and dual-sided 1U cable managers

1U Horizontal Cable Manager with D-Ring

The horizontal cable manager with D-ring usually consists of the horizontal lacer panel and D-rings, and sometimes D-rings will be set with a 1U patch panel and a lacing bar. In most cases, it is made of steel providing great durability. And the robust ring can route large amounts of cable through it. Cable managers of this type can be used in multi-media applications with all coax, copper, and fiber optic cables. This 1U cable manager provides an open-access management tool with great flexibility. That is to say, following the demand to add or reduce cables, the D-ring can be added or removed as the requirement.

Figure 2: Different horizontal cable managers with D-rings

Figure 2: Different horizontal cable managers with D-rings

1U Cable Manager with Brush Strip

Horizontal cable manager with brush strip is often made of high-quality steel and high-density nylon bristles. This type is designed to increase overall airflow within the cabinet network, helping to prevent equipment from overheating, dust, dirt. This 1U cable manager is the best choice for routing cables from the front of the rack to the rear in a simply organized way.

figure 3 1u cable manager with brush strip

Figure 3: 1U cable manager with brush strip

L-Shaped 1U Horizontal Cable Manager

L-shaped horizontal cable manager or L-shaped horizontal lacing bar is made of high-quality cold-rolled steel plate. It is an efficient tool for rack or enclosure cabling. The manager’s angled “L” shape can ensure a proper cable bend radius so that it can greatly avoid cable strain and prevent damage to ports on your rack-mount equipment.

figure 4 L-shape-lacer-bar

Figure4: L-Shaped Horizontal Cable Lacer Bar with Angled 4” Offset

How to Choose a Cable Manager

There are various types of cable managers. Besides the 1U cable managers introduced as above, the vertical cable manager is also a common type found in the market. As for the vertical cable manager, it also consists of different kinds with different features for different applications. When you want to buy one, it’s easy for you to get lost. There are some tips that may help you with it. At first, you should have a basic idea of your situation of the equipment that the cable manager is going to place. Is the horizontal way or the vertical way more suitable for you? Then you should consider the cable you are going to manage, such as the quantity and the material. Are you going to handle with fiber, coax, or copper cables? Do you need a compact cable manager or a loose one? Would you prefer a single-sided one or a dual-sided one? Next, you still need to think about expecting functions for this manager. Apart from organizing cables, do you want to increase overall airflow, or prevent overheating and dust, etc? Then, you should take into account the size, making you managers’ sizes fitting for your cables and equipment placed with.

Conclusion

With 1U cable manager the messy network will no longer be a problem for us. It makes full use of our space in a scientific way. Making the network environment more organized and neat, and also avoiding some potential threats to out network safety. In addition, the cost for a 1U cable manager is within our reach. With so many strengths, you are never too early to buy one.