Understanding the Difference Between Server Rack and Network Cabinet

It can be pretty tough to identify a server rack from a network cabinet and vice versa. Especially, when you start to install a new networking or server in your house or office and choose what suits best for your needs. The appearance alone can be confusing as these two have uniform sizes. 

Generally, despite the similarities, these two have certain differences that you can easily identify, that’s if you know the difference between them. But don’t worry, in this article we will show the distinct differences between network cabinet and server rack. This will definitely help you with your cable selection process in the future. 

Let’s get going! 

Server Rack — What is it? 

Server racks, in general, comes in different sizes and shapes, and are commonly used to accommodate various materials like storage, servers, and monitors. When talking about measurement, the typical width of a server rack is 19 inches, whilst the depth and height varies. 

Server rack pros: 

·         Best for cable management - Server racks provide enough space and access for user convenience when it comes to installing and managing thousands of cables and devices in an open space rack. 
·         Improved flow of air - Since server racks don’t have doors and are an open structure, airflow will be unobstructed and abundant which sets the temperature of the equipment.

Server rack cons: 

·         Dust exposure - Any device that is mounted on the server rack is directly exposed to dirt, dust, and other pollutants, which eventually may lead to equipment damage.
·         Unstable security - People can easily access the server rack, there is not enough security for the equipment. 

Network Cabinet —  What is it? 

Generally, network cabinets are used for storage of switches, routers, patch panels, and other networking devices and accessories. They are also being confused with server cabinets, however, there is a certain distinction. Oftentimes, network cabinets are shallower than server racks, and are measure less than 31 inches deep. Other times, network cabinets come in glasses or sturdy plastic. They don’t have any penetrated paddock too. 

Network cabinet pros: 

·         Enhanced cable protection - Cables will  be more secured because of the added side panels and doors, and has less external air access. This will help cables to be in good shape that is free from contaminants and possible damage. 
·         Added security - Network cabinets provide more security and protection compared to server racks. Unauthorized people will not gain any equipment access since network cabinets can be locked. 
·         Segregation of air - One of the best features of network cabinets is that engineers can use them to obtain techniques for air segregation. Say for example, cold aisle control, cabinet-level control, and hot aisle control. 

Network cabinet cons: 

·         Expensive - They are quite pricey unlike server racks. But, it’s the quality that counts, isn’t it? 
·         Inconvenient accessibility - Considering the fact that network cabinets have accessibility restrictions, it will take time to do certain operation like equipment maintenance or replacement within the cabinet. 

Server Racks vs. Network Cabinets 

We discussed some basic information for you to properly distinguish network cabinets from server racks above. Now let’s get to know their major differences between these two. 

·         Airflow Amount - Generally, most servers emit enough heat amount. However, network cabinets do not ensure you the same heat amount when housing an equipment compared to that of a server rack. Therefore, in order to obtain a considerable airflow amount towards the servers, server racks are made out of a penetrated material. The back and front portions are even vented. 

On the other hand, equipment that is housed inside a network cabinet does not produce enough heat if compared with server racks. Hence, they are made with sturdy tempered glass for the rear and front door panel. 

·         Depth - Since server racks housed equipment for networking longer, it should be way deeper than what network cabinets offer. Similarly, network cabinets are utilized to enclosed patch panels, routers, and other equipment for network connection. The usual diameter measurement is 800 mm to 1200 mm in depth. 


When selecting which suits your needs the most — server racks or network cabinets — it is important to consider the whole dimensions of your equipment prior before moving forward and selecting the most ideal option. You also need to take note that improper equipment housing can lead to possible equipment damage and may cause other risk issues. 

Moreover, it is also important to seek assistance from trusted cable manufacturers, just like OTSCable, a China-based LAN cable manufacturer, when having second thoughts about your equipment housing choices and decisions. 



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