Over one hundred years on from the first commercial flight in 1919, Sydney Airport is now one of Australia’s most important pieces of infrastructure. It is Australia’s international gateway and an essential part of the transport network, connecting to over 90 destinations around the world.
Sydney Airport manages over 480 network edge sites installed in various spaces, ranging from dedicated rooms to industrial cabinets that span across 80 hectares of the site.
Recently, a refurbishment of the International Departures retail floor prompted a consolidation of three internal network edge spaces within the terminal; with retail space at a premium, the airport was forced to identify an alternative location.
Sydney Airport improvised and opted to install the equipment one floor below, in a centrally accessible position, in a space home to a baggage processing plant. Conveyors and other equipment produced excessive dust and debris — a known issue for network switches. The high-dust area posed risks for overheating, reduced efficiency and increased potential downtime
Consequently, Technology Facilities Manager Vino Rodrigues was tasked with sourcing a suitable installation that delivered:
- A practical solution for a dirty industrial environment without building HVAC cooling
- Easy access to networking switches with minimal ongoing maintenance
Impeccable installation and support managed by a vendor with a reliable channel model
Sydney Airport’s less-than-ideal access space was the perfect opportunity to use Rittal equipment, mitigating the risk of environmental issues. This decision was based on decades of experience with other vendors whose solutions had fallen short of technical or environmental requirements.
Two side-by-side Rittal TS IT IP55 racks were installed with solid side panels and doors to contain seven network switches. Plugged into these were a myriad of devices, from POS systems to telephones and cameras, and everything in between. Working with their partner LAN Installations, Sydney Airport developed a custom power supply system with automatic transfer of two independent power sources. A Rittal TopTherm rack-mounted air conditioning unit was installed to the active rack’s back door, with internal hot/cold containment ensuring an ultra efficient cooling of only the front 4-inches of the rack.
Any challenges related to the new location were resolved before they ever became a problem. For example; as standard Rittal TS IT cabinets have glass doors, but Sydney Airport expressed concern about accidental breakage, resolved by installing a solid steel door instead. Concerns with overheating were also raised, and were ingeniously resolved by Rittal’s TopTherm unit, which also has the added benefit of market leading energy efficiency.