Raycap News

Fighting Climate Change with Street Cabinets

Many businesses need equipment in the field to operate or provide a specific service to customers. The most obvious example of this is the telecom industry, which must put receivers and transmitters into places that can be dangerous to them. For an adequate signal to be received by the cell phone in the customer’s hand, they must be within short proximity of a cellular installation.

If you are accessing the network using the fastest speeds, like 5G, your proximity to the node must be even closer. Unfortunately, the farther your device is from that transmitter, the weaker the signal will be until there is no connection. If your device cannot connect to the network, it is irrelevant how many features your phone has, as almost all of them will not be functional. In a nutshell, your phone is only as powerful as the network to which it connects.

That network has invested millions of dollars into the rollout of equipment in the field designed to improve your signal no matter where you are. The advent of 5G technology has required the additional installation of thousands of sites nationwide, all of which are at risk for damage. The fallout from equipment damage in the telecom industry field is not only felt in repair costs but also in potential customer dissatisfaction.

Customer dissatisfaction can lead to a service cancellation or a switch to another carrier. If the equipment is damaged, the site is nearly always offline until repairs happen, negating the value of the investment in the first place. This is why the protection of this equipment is of such paramount importance. Active and passive telecommunications equipment must be shielded from damage to conserve the budget allocated to repairs, and, that site must stay online for happy customers. For this reason, telecom companies invest heavily in cabinets, enclosures, and other protections to prevent equipment damage. These enclosures go by various names but are commonly referred to as “street cabinets.”

A street cabinet is not just a metal box that will protect against rodents and vandals but an integral part of the system that provides climate control for the equipment inside and surge protection if a lightning strike happens. The climate control element is becoming more important as each year passes, and climate change impacts the surrounding temperatures around the cabinet.

Storms also increase in intensity, making adequate surge protection more critical than ever. As climate changes occur in a cabinet location, the ambient temperature inside the street cabinet must remain within operational ranges, or the simple operation of the equipment will overheat it. Keeping that equipment from overheating or freezing helps conserve the maintenance budget and keep the installations functioning even during adverse weather events. Climate change is making those adverse events more frequent and more extreme. As a result, cabinets at street level, on poles, and sides or tops of buildings must be engineered to withstand climates that may not be currently present.