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Mounting Hot Switches in A Rack


I sometimes do some network admin for a local organization, they have a 48-port Dell switch and two 48-port patch panels that are gradually filling up as they expand. They now need a second switch identical to the first and in most network installs I have seen the switches are grouped together at the top, however, these Dell units run hot and I already have a 150mm fan cooling the rear of the case. So, do I.........

a) Mount the two switches together like everyone else does and hope that the heat does not become a problem.

b) Mount the two switches at the top but with a 1U gap between them for ventilation, this sounds ideal but it will mean purchasing A LOT of longer patch cords. The fan will probably be able to cool them like this but I am not sure.

c) Mount one switch at the top, the patch bays in the middle, and the second switch at the bottom. I then need to get creative and find a way to mount a fan to cool the second switch.

Please explain your answer.

If the switches are both on the same LAN, alternate:

Patch panel
Patch panel

It keeps most of the patch wiring as short as possible and gives you the air space you need between the switches for ventilation + is extendible in future.  You may need an extra 1U gap for a heat deflector over the bottom switch if they have truly lousy thermal management, or if its a glass door rack, may even have to resort to fans and filters feeding an air plenum at the bottom of the rack with ducts up to the back of each switch.

Yes, the Dell switches do have really bad thermal management. Without that fan I estimate that the rear right of the case is somewhere between 50C and 60C as I can only just put my hand on it. The switch CPU is running at about 20% of full load so I suspect that this is a power supply issue.

Thanks for the tip, switch,panel,switch,panel sounds logical and they get to use all of their existing patch leads.


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