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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.

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