quiet cooling fansQuiet Cooling fans

You would think quiet cooling fans were the most straightforward technology. Like most things, when you dig deeper, things get more complicated. The reason fans typically become an issue is because of noise. With everything, price-driven manufacturers fit the cheapest Chinese-made fans, which cost pennies but are of poor quality.

Modern networks typically have VoIP phones and wireless access points powered by Power Over Ethernet (POE), meaning network switches need more power, which in turn requires more cooling.

Fans are often noisy when new and get worse over time as they wear, and dirt builds up. Loud fans are not usually a problem for large companies as switches are tucked away in a comms room out of earshot of users.

Small Offices

In smaller businesses where the comms cabinet is in the corner of the office, this can be a problem. Users will complain as the noise is annoying.

The answer is to either move the switch away from the users, which is not usually practical, fit a soundproof cabinet that is expensive, or change the fans.

Switch fans are typically 40mm across, 10mm or 20mm thick, use 5 or 12 volts and can have 2, 3 or 4 wires. Replacement involves shutting down the switch to take it apart, finding the specification for the new fan, and then reassembling it. Once a fan is obtained, more downtime is needed to install it.

The key to making this effort worthwhile is buying the right fan. It is possible to purchase fans designed to be quiet. These have better bearings, vibration-absorbing rubber mounts and blades designed to smooth the airflow to reduce noise. These are more expensive and take time to fit in, but the benefit to the office environment is worth it.