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Let’s Talk About Depths in Depth!

Total Depth vs. Max Usable Depth vs. Max Mountable Depth vs. Max Distance between rails – Confused??? Well… if the answer is yes, then this article is made especially for you!

Mountable equipment has a standard 19 inch width to fit the standard cabinet or rack. But there are other measurements to consider, and an important one is depth. Total depth, max usable depth, max mountable depth and max distance between rails all need to be reviewed and might be confusing.

When buying a standard 19 inch (width between rails) cabinet or rack for the purpose of mounting your server, network equipment or any other 19 inch mountable equipment, one of the first things that you should check is the physical dimensions of the equipment that you would like to mount in the rack or cabinet.

While the technical specifications of the rack or cabinet will include a lot of information such as cable entry points, access points, maximum load capacity, etc., it is wise to first explore the dimensions of the cabinet or rack you are looking at to make sure that it can accommodate your equipment.

Checking the needed mountable height is fairly easy. The only two points to consider with regards to the cabinet or rack height are: First – Consider allowing some space (vertical space) between one piece of equipment to another, especially in cases where the mountable equipment generates heat. Second – Decide whether you plan to mount more equipment in the future. If this is the case, you might want to consider a taller rack or cabinet.

On the other hand, checking the cabinet or rack depth is much trickier, as some buyers are not aware of the need to consider all depth aspects and, as a result, are purchasing racks or cabinets that fail to meet their needs. Besides the physical depth of the mountable equipment, it is necessary that you allow some extra space in front of and behind the equipment if the equipment requires a cable hook-up. You also want to consider allowing extra space for your cables and power cable, as well as for providing maintenance to equipment when needed.

Once you have concluded the actual depth needed for your equipment, review the technical specifications of the rack or cabinet you intend to buy and look for the depth information. The rack or cabinet depth information should include several different types of depth as follows:

1. Total Depth – The total depth includes the distance between the front and the back of the rack or cabinet, including the thickness of the doors.

2. Maximum Usable Depth – The maximum usable depth includes the inside distance between the front and back doors or panels excluding the thickness of the door or any other obstructions inside the rack or cabinet, such as reinforcement beams, etc.

3. Maximum Distance Between Rails – The maximum distance between rails refers to a rack or cabinet that contains four rails: Two rails in the front of the rack or cabinet and two rails at the rear. Although the width between the rails is a standard 19 inches, the distance between the two front rails to the two rear rails is usually adjustable. The maximum distance between rails represents the distance between the front and rear rails when they are adjusted to the furthest possible setting.

4. Maximum Mountable Depth – In a small rack or cabinet, when only two mounting rails are available, the maximum mountable depth is the equivalent to the depth inside the cabinet with the rails at their furthest setting (closest to the front door).

Reviewing these various depths will help you decide if the rack or cabinet you are viewing will accommodate your equipment needs. Doing your research now will save you from the aggravation of dealing with a rack or cabinet that cannot hold your equipment. It is wise to research beforehand in order to receive the best fit product for your needs the first time.

SETT’s cabinets and racks specifications can be found on each product page and also at the following link:

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us with questions at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call us during business hours at: 215-322-9301


Network Racks and Server Racks from SETT!

SETT is one of the nation’s leading manufacturers of network racks, server racks and network cabinets.  Whether you need a wall mount cabinet or free standing network rack, you will find it here - from 5U cabinets to large 42U server racks.  For your convenience, SETT network racks may be ordered online and shipped nationwide.

Trusted worldwide, SETT server and network racks are built to last!