Issues Enclosures Face in the Field
When setting up an enclosure maintenance plan, service providers should take into consideration factors that aren’t related to normal equipment wear.
Telecommunications and networking organizations often establish maintenance plans that include sending technicians to their deployed enclosures on a regular basis.
If the equipment isn’t sending an error message to the network operations center (NOC), the trips will be simple endeavors. The technician will check, clean and replace the air intake filter. They will perform a visual check on the enclosure to make sure no one has tampered with it or tried to break in. They’ll check the door seal to ensure it’s intact and working properly. And then they will perform any OEM-recommended maintenance on the HVAC system, fan and other components.
When setting up their maintenance plan, service providers should also take into account potential issues that can be caused by the environment, wildlife, weather and natural disasters.
Let’s look deeper into issues enclosures face in the field.
The Top Issues Enclosures Face in the Field
Service providers should always consider the environment surrounding their enclosures when developing their maintenance plan.
If the enclosure is located near an unpaved road, field or a similarly dusty area, for example, the provider should consider shortening the interval between maintenance visits. The dust will build up very quickly on the air intake filter, which will need to be cleaned more often, especially in dry spells.
The same goes for areas with a lot of trees and plants. During certain times of year, plants can put off enough pollen to clog the air intake filter, hindering the filtration system’s ability to draw in clean air for the equipment inside.
From insects to rodents, a variety of wildlife will seek shelter inside telecommunications enclosures.
When performing their routine inspections, technicians should be on the lookout for new tenants, such as ants, spiders, snakes or mice. Be sure to look around and under all equipment for nests, droppings and other signs of wildlife intrusion.
Some animals, like spiders, wasps and snakes, don’t pose threats to the equipment itself, but they can be dangerous to unsuspecting technicians. Others, like ants and mice, can cause serious issues with the telecommunications equipment inside the cabinet or shelter. Ants, for example, like to build nests inside dark places, including inside electronics. Mice, on the other hand, can chew through wiring.
Even if the intruding animal isn’t causing damage, the presence of wildlife inside the cabinet means there is an entry point somewhere allowing those animals inside.
If the technician sees any evidence of wildlife inside the enclosure, they should first and foremost be very wary and carefully determine what wildlife is there. Then, they can go about removing the issue and then establish where the wildlife gained entry.
The technician should check the door seal to ensure it’s completely intact and then perform a walk-around. Be sure to inspect around cable entry points to ensure the seals are intact. Look at the walls for bullet holes, too. Seal up the intrusion points and make sure the nuisance is completely removed.
While quality enclosures can stand up to most inclement weather, it’s still a good idea for the organizations to check on them if situations get too extreme.
In winter or in higher elevations, snow can be a concern. The good news is that most enclosures will withstand a great amount of snow/ice accumulation on top of the enclosure. In fact, unless the enclosure is built poorly, no real amount of snow will damage the roof. But, for enclosures with air intakes, too much accumulation can block the air intake vent, which can negatively affect the ability of air to flow throughout the compartment/enclosure. Organizations should be aware of how high the air intake is from the ground and how much snow has fallen in the area.
Ice only poses a threat to the cabinet if it accumulates on structures above the enclosure, such as high on a cell tower. The ice can fall and hit the cabinet–if the pieces are sharp enough or fall from high enough, they can puncture the cabinet or shear cables.
Organizations don’t have much to worry about from storms aside from wind–and in that case, the winds have to be to the point of blowing around debris or actually tearing the enclosure off its base. As long as the wind doesn’t completely blow away an enclosure or blow something into it, it’s not likely to damage the enclosure or the equipment inside.
Storms can also bring lightning and heavy rains. These aren’t likely to be issues, though, as long as the organization properly grounds their enclosure and doesn’t install structures in a flood plain.
Forest fires are becoming more and more of an issue. While most enclosures are metal, fires can still burn and/or melt seals, connections and cables. Depending on how long the fire lasts and how hot it gets, it could also damage components. If fires are a common issue in the area and the organization is just has passive equipment to protect, the service provider should consider a below-grade enclosure, such the AP NAUTILIS. Because the unit sits mostly underground, the fire is likely to pass over it, damaging the lid and nothing else.
At American Products, we build our cabinets to withstand as much as possible to protect your valuable networking equipment. We understand issues enclosures face in the field. Through the years, we’ve taken feedback from our customers and used it to enhance our products further. For example, we mitigate the chance of intrusion with a unique cable entry design that results in no entry points for rodents or insects. And that’s just one example!
We offer a variety of cabinets, shelters and below-grade enclosures to protect your equipment for years to come. If you’re ready to learn more, contact the American Products specialists at 417.323.6312 now!
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