Extending the Network? Consider This When Delivering Network and Power to Edge Enclosures.

February 03, 2022

As more IT professionals are tasked with extending the network to connect IoT and business systems in today’s digital transformation landscape, it’s important to know that that the components and equipment needed to make it happen must be rated for use in environments that are dusty, dirty, possibly wet and which may experience wide temperature variations.

In these nontraditional spaces, which are many times found outdoors among the elements, where such an enclosure must reliably provide the primary protection for sensitive electronic and networking equipment, it’s also important that these industrial, outdoor enclosures are completely sealed when closed.

Fortunately, there are standards that already define the degrees of environmental protection by enclosure selection. These include topics that CPI has previously covered in past articles, linked below, and which explore details for IP Code and NEMA type ratings, as well as what types of enclosures may be needed for any given application, which you can review here. 

For now though, let’s briefly discuss what to consider as you work to deliver network and power connections to industrial enclosures, as it will be key to continual, optimal equipment and network reliability.

Delivering Network and Power Connections to Edge Enclosures
Consider this:
  • To maintain the enclosure protection rating, any openings added to the enclosure for the network and power cables need to be sealed
  • In most cases, electrical conduit is used to protect and deliver cables. If it is NOT used, the cable openings need to be sealed with special grommets that match the enclosure’s protection level and maintain the seal around the cable.
  • The BEST solution is a single-service seal with an adaptable inner and outer diameter, which allows multiple cables to enter a single enclosure opening (take a look at the RMR® Enclosure Gland Seal and RMR Enclosure ComSeal Grommet). This system uses a single grommet housing with an internal multi-piece assembly that creates a tight seal around each cable.
  • Sealing around individual cables provides the best result for maintaining protection category, but this approach is very different from the brush-sealed grommets typically used on IT cabinets. As an alternative, if you only have one cable to pass into the enclosure, a basic gasket seal (i.e. one cable, one opening) will work.
Remote Monitoring and Control
To ensure environmental conditions remain optimal for equipment and to detect changes in the environment or signs of tampering, also consider adding remote monitoring and control.
  • Environmental monitoring appliances (check out CPI’s Remote Infrastructure Management RIM-750) can measure temperature, humidity, airflow, power and detect entry of water.
  • Rack-mount power distribution units (PDUs) distribute power to switches, provide remote outlet control so you can remotely cycle power to equipment, and monitor power use by equipment.
  • Some PDUs also monitor environmental conditions.
  • Both devices automate monitoring, keep logs of measured data and let you set thresholds and receive alarm notifications when conditions approach limits, so you can prevent network outages.
Ultimately, these considerations and more will all be important to intentionally plan for and understand as teams continue to embark on the fundamentals of any successful edge network deployment.

An excellent place to continue the conversation here would be checking out CPI’s  interactive edge e-Book titled, Five Pillars of Successful Network Deployment at the Edge.
Posted by Brittany Mangan, Digital Content Specialist at 2/3/2022 9:51:40 AM
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