How To Prevent Top-of-Rack Switches From Overheating

2017-10-02T13:00:46-08:00 September 14, 2017|Containment|

It’s not uncommon to hear about network switches overheating or failing when mounted in the rear of a rack. While convenient for cabling purposes, mounting the switch in the back of a rack allows hot air from servers to enter the switch. In turn, this could lead to the switch overheating or even failing.

Traditionally, two solutions have been used to resolve this issue. One is to remove the blanking panels in the front of the rack. While this option gets some cold air to the switch, it defeats any containment strategies that might be in place and allows cold and hot air to mix inside the rack. Another option is to mount a rack fan. The rack fan also delivers cold air to the switch but it requires additional energy, usually takes 2-3 RU of rack space, and also allows cold and hot air to mix inside the rack.

After seeing customers struggle with this specific challenge, Mirapath worked with Geist to develop a solution that channels cool air directly to the network switch without requiring power and without allowing the cold air to mix with the hot air. The new Geist SwitchAir Duct keeps the hot air out of the switch by using a metal duct that brings cold air to the switch and prevents overheating. Designed as a 1 RU product, the flexible design allows for an efficient path for cold air to travel directly to the inlets of a rear-mounted 1 RU switch. Brushes allow any cabling going to the back of the switch to be easily installed and maintained.

Geist SwitchAir Duct Key Features:

  • Adjustable depth
  • Rear brushes for switch power cord pass-through
  • Can be installed in a live environment
  • Can be used with switches that have rails
  • Lower cost compared to rack-mounted fans
Solution Comparisons Description

Remove Blanking Panel

  • No power requirements
  • No space requirements
  • Cold air flows into the rack defeating containment
  • Air flow is random and mixed

Rack-Mounted Fan

  • Draws up to 40 watts of additional power
  • 120v power required for most
  • Takes 2-3 RU of space
  • Air is blown randomly into the rack
  • Air flow is constant but mixed

Geist SwitchAir Duct

  • No power requirements
  • Only takes 1 RU of space
  • Guides air directly to where it is needed
  • Switch draws cool air as needed
  • No mixing of hot and cool air

If you have any questions or would like more information about the new Geist SwitchAir Duct, contact us at (877) 647-2728 or