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Racks vs Frames

Data Cabinets, Server Racks, and Enclosures house more equipment today than ever before! This rise in equipment densities has increased the need for organised cable management both inside and outside the rack. Poor cable management can not only lead to damaged cables or increased time to add or change out cables but can block critical airflow or access. This can lead to inefficiencies in the performance of your equipment or even downtime.

With now such a varied range of mounting equipment to choose from, it's easy to see how it can be confusing in deciding on what to work with for your installation. Here we take a look inside the various options to help make your decision a little easier.


Available in different heights, widths and depths with various options for the doors and panels, racks are the most common way of mounting patch panels or equipment. 

The height is measured in "RU" Rack Units, or more commonly, "U" Units. This is the usable height available inside the cabinet, and not the physical height. 1U is 1¾" (44.45 mm). The standard widths that are most commonly available are 600 & 800 mm, which is convenient as the standard raised floor system is constructed with 600 x 600 mm floor tiles. 19" profiles can be fitted in different positions (Front, Rear, Mid, etc) to support the patch panels and various equipment. By using the front and rear 19" profiles heavy equipment can be fitted.

  • Comes in various heights, widths, depths and weight limits
  • A number of different door types can be fitted such as glass, solid steel, and vented
  • Provides earth bonding for both equipment and panels
  • Wardrobe style doors are available, allowing easier access in restricted spaces
  • Offers excellent security, restricting access to only authorised personnel
  • Manages airflow, improving cooling and reducing costs


Frames are the simplest method of mounting patch panels and are available in various heights. They can take up very little floor space (footprint). 

Two post frames consist of two vertical 19" profiles that have a simple base. 

This arrangement of profiles best suits where patch panels have to be mounted which can be due to a number of reasons such as:

  • No opening of doors allows easy access to patching
  • No airflow management is required
  • They are cantilevered mounted from the front only
  • Offers a small footprint
  • Works well where a cross-connect is employed
  • Lighter


Racks and frames have their different uses. Frames are common in larger communications rooms and data centers where security is controlled by means of access to the room. They are good for managing patching (copper and fiber) and offer a compact solution. Racks are versatile, offer airflow management and security, meaning they can be used in work areas as well as dedicated rooms.

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