Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Temp & Humidity Control in IT spaces - Enterprise Networks - Relax requirements?


When specifying the environmental control for an IT space the recommended requirements are  21+-3 degrees Celsius and 40% to 60% relative humidity.


It appears almost all network switches I come across now has at least an operating temperature range of 0 to 40 degrees and humidity range between 15% and 90%. I suspect this doesn’t mean running continuously at 40 degrees and 90% humidity is fine for these switches?


I am trying to find out the following:

  • If the environment that was continuously 40 degrees and 90% humidity will these switches have the same performance and lifetime as equipment that’s in a room that’s cooled to 21 degrees and has a controlled humidity of between 40% and 60% RH?
  • If not, what is the difference in performance/lifetime?
  • What would the ideal environmental conditions be for the switches?
  • Are there any restrictions in your product guarantees/warranties on humidity or temperature?

If running at 40 degrees and 90% humidity continuously doesn’t affect the product lifetime then there is a strong argument to remove any costly and energy consuming environmental control from IT spaces where the region allows e.g. the UK. If Ciscos product line enables this to happen or even if it allows the standard specifications of 21+-3 degrees and 40% to 60% relative humidity to be relaxed this would be a huge cost saving in building operations.


Of course the requirements will differ on what product is installed but it would good to understand worst case scenarios for an enterprise environment as the building services is always specified way before the active IT equipment is procured.




I'm certain it will NOT have the same same lifetime but Cisco clearly state that it is supported operating environment which you point out, an organisation I have worked with have moved to fresh air in two server rooms. those in areas where humidity is regularly above 70% don't fair well and Dell have cancelled all their support contracts despite advertising fresh air compatible. Our buildings management team don't look at the environmental cost, just the immediate financial cost so fresh air cooling (huge fans) with little extra cooling meets the specifications but the a lot of equipment e.g. dell and juniper as all rusted. This is one of the reasons we are now exclusively cisco for networking equipment. the server room with some dehumidification (normally 50-70%) is fairing better. If you live within 1km of large body of water dehumidification is essential for non cisco kit.

Getting Started

Find answers to your questions by entering keywords or phrases in the Search bar above. New here? Use these resources to familiarize yourself with the community: