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We have a 24 port switch in a metal closet, and despite this, it still makes a great deal of noise.

Are there ways to noise reduce switches?

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4 Answers 4

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Most often the noise is due to the size of the fans. If you were able to increase the size of the fans you could reduce their RPMS to move the same amount of air, which in turn will reduce the noise somewhat. In some units the fans are thermal controlled and will spool up or down depending on the temperature inside the case.

Alternatively you could place the switches into a sound shielding case similar to one used for old Dot Matrix printers. However the problem with a sound shielding case is that it will be somewhat enclosed and thus will not have very good air flow and for temperature exchange.

Your best bet is to place your networking equipment in a closet/room with the rest of your equipment and adequately ventilate/cool the space.

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If replacing the switch is an option look at a fanless model. I have had good luck luck with the dlinks but several manufacturers make them.

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Netgear does as well, 24 and 48-port 10/100 1U models. If you can't go fanless, look for a model that uses a centrifugal fan. They're much larger and tend to spin at lower RPMs. Some Cisco 3560 models use these, and they are very quiet. –  James Sneeringer Jan 12 '12 at 5:11
    
@James - Good to know about the 3560s - I'd never specifically looked for fanless Cisco equipment. –  Tim Brigham Jan 12 '12 at 15:12

I'm assuming you mean from the fan. In which case your only options would be replacing the fan. This might be because the fan is dying in which you really should replace it anyway, or it could just be cheap and so it makes a lot of noise.

Most equipment fans are one of several standard sizes, so if you pull it out and measure it, you should be able to find a replacement (most fans are measured in mm). When looking for the replacement, most will advertise how loud they are in decibels (db). How loud it is can be impacted by the quality of the fan (what type of mechanism it uses, ball bearing, fluid bearing, etc), and also by its air flow (more air flow normally means louder). The air flow is an important aspect as if you get one that doesnt push enough air, your switch can overheat.

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Definitely, replace the fan(s). I had a Cisco 4700 router in my office that sounded like a vacuum cleaner. I replaced all the fans with low-noise fans and now it's quieter than my PC. –  David Schwartz Jan 12 '12 at 2:58

A metal cabinet will do little to dampen the noise; sound is efficiently transmitted by the metal to the exterior. You might try using acoustic foam inside the cabinet to reduce the noise, but be sure to allow proper ventilation. To prevent noise from escaping through the ventilation holes, you can construct a serpentine air channel with the foam.

A quieter switch might be cheaper than the foam.

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