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RF Shielding Material and Other Components of a Hardened Enclosure
There are several reasons why you might need to block radio frequency (RF) signals emanating from IT equipment. One is security — cybercriminals can intercept and analyze RF signals and other spurious emissions to steal data and gain access to systems. You might also need to block RF signals to test wireless devices.
When building an RF shielded enclosure, it’s important to choose the right materials to attenuate RF frequencies. Of course, an enclosure is more than a Faraday cage — you need to get power, cooling, and network connectivity into the cabinet. Every opening must be shielded to limit RF signal leakage and outside interference.
Enconnex worked through this process when designing our DefenseShield™ Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Hardened Enclosure. We selected the highest quality materials and manufactured the enclosure within precise tolerances to provide military-grade performance.
RF Shielding Materials
Three materials are commonly used for RF shielding:
- Copper is highly effective at attenuating RF signals because of its high conductivity. It can easily be formed into almost any shape and has a natural resistance to corrosion. Although expensive, it is considered the best RF shielding material.
- Aluminum is only about 60 percent as conductive as copper but still provides an effective RF shield at frequencies above 30MHz. It is also highly malleable and less expensive than copper. However, aluminum is subject to corrosion.
- Steel provides effective shielding across a wide frequency range. It is manufactured in various forms (hot- and cold-rolled, galvanized, annealed, etc.) that affect its conductive properties. Steel may be plated with tin to provide protection against corrosion.
When choosing RF shielding materials, several factors will come into play, including the frequencies to be attenuated, the environment as relates to corrosion, and the size and shape of the enclosure.
Manufacturing an RF Shielded Enclosure
The RF shielded enclosures on the market today vary widely in their features and capabilities. Some use metal plating and are difficult to install and move due to their weight. Others are designed for industrial use and provide only minimal electromagnetic attenuation.
The enclosure must have a means of dissipating the heat generated by IT equipment and ideally will have a footprint that allows it to be integrated into the data center environment. Flexible options for shelving, power, and connectivity increase the functionality of the cabinet.
The Enconnex DefenseShield Cabinet
Enconnex has developed an RF shielded cabinet that checks all the boxes in terms of price, performance, and flexibility. Starting with our high-quality 42U rack, we use copper paint to effectively attenuate signals from 1MHz to 18GHz. Filters and other material shield every opening to limit RF signal leakage.
Other features include:
- Standard footprint. Competitive products are very wide, making data center integration difficult. DefenseShield is a standard 42U cabinet that will easily fit into any data center configuration.
- Lightweight. Plated steel and stainless steel products are too heavy for offices or data centers. At 376 pounds, DefenseShield is exceptionally lightweight, making shipping, integration, and installation easier.
- Integrated Cooling. As density increases, cooling is a top concern. DefenseShield features 10 powerful, long-life fans to quickly dissipate heat. The fans are coated in metal alloy paint and meshed with a copper and nickel material to minimize RF leakage.
- Customizable. Most RF shielded racks are limited in terms of customization. With DefenseShield, you can select a variety of shelves, power, and connectivity options from one vendor.
If you’re looking for an RF shielded rack that delivers everything you need in one cost-efficient unit, look no further than Enconnex. Learn more about the DefenseShield EMC Hardened Enclosure here.
Posted by Enconnex Team on January 20, 2021