Can You Place a Network Switch in the Loft?

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A lot of people considered placing their network switch in the loft. Do you know why? Because the loft is not always accessible and it’s out of the way. But, the loft isn’t an ideal place to keep the network switch. If you are keeping network switches in the loft make sure to regulate the temperature in that region. Lofts often tend to have high temperatures, which isn’t ideal for network switches. Therefore, if the loft temperature goes more than 104 ° F, placing a network switch in that area can highly reduce its lifespan. 

There are different types of network switches. Some can be kept in a loft while some cannot. If you are thinking of placing network switches in the loft area but are doubtful if it’s the right thing to do, you have come to the right place. In this context, we have discussed everything related to this. Therefore, without any further delay, let’s dive into the detail. 

Can You Place a Network Switch in the Loft
Source: smarthomepoint.com

Why You Shouldn’t Place a Network Switch in the Loft

The main reason why people aren’t advised to place network switches in the loft is that the loft is usually quite hot and dusty. The only area of your house that remains mostly warm and hot is the loft. You must know that a hot environment isn’t ideal for networking equipment. Not just network switches, people aren’t advised to keep any kind of electrical device or tool in a hot area. 

The hot environment of the loft largely affects the lifespan of the switches. The longevity of the switches decreases majorly if it’s being kept in the loft for several months. Usually, network switches remain powered on for most of the day. In the process, the switches get heated. Now if they are placed in such a hot environment that will simply add to the problem. Therefore, get ready to replace the network switch sooner than required. If the switch is inexpensive, you need not worry. But if you bought an expensive managed switch that has PoE ports, it’s advised to keep it at a better place at your home. 

How Hot Can a Loft Get?

Are you wondering what the maximum temperature your loft can reach is? Well, it depends on the region you live in and the climate of that area. Lofts usually have a temperature of about 40° C. That’s quite normal. In hotter climatic zones, you can expect a loft with a higher temperature, while in cooler regions, the temperature ranges between 38° to 40° C during summertime. 

In the summer season, the direct rays of the sun are effectively absorbed into the loft space, generating heat in the process. If you have to place network switches in the loft region, make sure to insulate that area. 

There are several other things that you ought to keep in mind at the same time, such as the intensity and effectiveness of the insulation, the incoming airflow, and other factors. Thus, the temperature in the loft varies from home to home. Now, if the temperature in the loft in countries like the UK can exceed more than 104 ° F, in tropical countries you can expect the loft to be even hotter. This is another reason why you ought to find a better place to keep your network switches. 

What Is the Operating Temperature of a Network Switch?

Similar to the temperature of lofts the operating temperature of various network switches also varies. It depends on the type of network switch you are using, the manufacturer, and the model of the switch. If it’s a managed network switch that is connected by PoE, it is expected to draw more power, causing the switch to be heated in the process. Hence, people are advised not to place such switches in the loft area. However, a standard unmanaged switch can still be considered to be placed in the attic. 

Several factors affect whether or not a network switch is fit to be placed in the attic. We have already listed some factors related to the temperature of the loft above. Apart from that, the operating temperature of the network switch is also an important factor. Apart from a Ubiquiti Unifi switch, every other switch has an operating temperature ranging from 32°F – 104°F (0°C – 40°C). The ubiquity unifies switch works at a bit lower temperature and therefore can be considered to be placed in an attic. 

Now that you have an idea about the maximum temperature in the attic and the operating temperature of maximum network switches, let’s find out the ideal place where you can place a network switch. Continue to read below for more details. 

What Is the Operating Temperature of a Network Switch
Source: smarthomepoint.com

Where Is the Best Place for a Network Switch?

There are several places in the house where you can place your network switch. However, avoid the loft as much as possible. People are expected to have someplace or the other where they can keep all sorts of electrical equipment safely. If you don’t have such a place, create one. If you don’t want to create, you have your cabinet, cupboard, and similar places where you can place your network switches. 

For instance, a cupboard is an amazing place where you can keep everything. It’s easy to drill holes inside the cupboard and connect cables and switches to their power sources. All you have to do is do some drilling. If there’s a shelf you can use even that, to keep network switches on that. 

Make sure the shelf is at a considerable height so that children don’t get access to it. If you are keeping the network’ switches inside the cupboard, rest assured that children wouldn’t know it unless it’s wide open. So be careful to not open the cupboard unless necessary. 

You can also consider your garage as a safe place to keep all sorts of networking equipment there. Unlike the loft, garages don’t get overheated, even in the summertime. So the area is worth considering. 

What to do if you have no other option left but to use the loft? 

If there’s no other place in the house to keep network switches, which is a bit unlikely, you must keep a few things into consideration. Only after doing the needful should you think of placing network switches in the attic. The following considerations are important. 

Firstly, remember that you need to supply power to the switches for them to function properly. Running an extension cord through the ceiling into the loft isn’t an ideal solution. Usually, attics don’t have power supplies. So this means, you first have to provide electricity to that room and then proceed with placing the network switches. Thus, the process becomes lengthy and of course, time is taken. 

What to do if you have no other option left but to use the loft
Source: media.wired.com

The second thing you ought to consider is whether or not any of the Ethernet cables need to be connected outside to reach the switches in the loft. Again, if that’s required, you have to call a professional to get the channelling done. Also, if you have to take the ceiling outside, you first have to buy an external grade Ethernet cable. Next, you have to call a professional and leave the matter in his hands. 

The standard Ethernet cables we get from the market aren’t specifically designed to function outdoors in extreme weather conditions. That’s why placing the outdoors would cause them to malfunction. It can also reduce their longevity. Even if you are using an external grade Ethernet cable, you are advised to use some form of weatherproof conduit. That would give the cable an additional layer of protection. 

The final consideration you ought to keep in mind is placing the switch as low as possible. Keep it as close to the floor as you can. However, make sure the switches don’t get in touch with the loft insulation. Keep it at a slightly raised position. You must be wondering why placing a switch is so lower. Keeping it close to the ground will prevent the switch from getting heated up too much. 

Yes, some people have kept their network switches in the attic and they are performing well. However, it might not happen the same with you. Therefore people are advised to not risk it. If you have to place it in the loft because you don’t have any other option, keep the considerations in mind. 

Conclusion

Despite following the considerations, if the temperature in the attic is extremely high, the switch will eventually get heated up in the process. Also, dust can enter the switches. Therefore expect the longevity of the switches to decrease with time. 

If it’s a standard unmanaged switch, risking it by placing it in the attic is acceptable. But if it’s an expensive managed switch with PoE ports, you are risking a lot of your money. 

We hope this post has been found useful and informative. Try to find a safer place like a cabinet or cupboard and place your network switches there.