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I'm new to managed switches and I recently inquired an IT consultant to setup my new office network.

For the records, the new office network spans 2 floors, thus he recommended utilising ONE managed switch with a rack/cabinet housing, and the rest using unmanaged switches.

Anyways, my main question is: does a managed switch really need to be housed on a rack, or in its own cabinet, to function efficiently?

Btw, what are the pros/cons of having a rack/cabinet?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

A managed [ethernet] switch (or any ethernet switch for that matter) will function regardless of whether it's mounted in a rack.

The advantages of using a rack is that better air circulation can be achieved with the proper fans, it keeps unsightly wiring out of view, and if it's large enough you can also store servers, a KVM switch, and a monitor/keyboard/mouse in there. (Many people also keep manuals and CDs in these racks, and I knew one guy who said he kept his cold meat sandwich lunches in there as well.)

Many sites do, however, get by with a few shelving brackets or a wooden shelf (mounted on shelving brackets) to hold their managed ethernet switches. As long as the circulation isn't inhibited, and the environment isn't warmer than the temperature recommendations in the documentation [for your ethernet switch], you should be fine (cooler is better).

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Thanks, I'll take note of the setup, although I'm a little bit tempted to keep my meat sandwiches there as well. ; ) –  Googooboyy Mar 9 '11 at 9:33

Switches have a lot of wires coming out of them. Having them in a rack allows for neater cable management and use of a patch panel to reduce failures of long runs of cable.

It's not required but highly recomended.

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Very nice reply Chris, but I gotta give the tick to Randolf cos he came first. ; ) –  Googooboyy Mar 9 '11 at 9:32

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