The airflow management for multi-board rack-mount equipment has to meet certain requirements including a minimum air velocity over the boards, uniform air velocity from board to board and from front to rear, and fan redundancy. These requirements have to be met within certain size, noise level and reliability constrains. Several configurations are usually considered: “push” or pressurized system, “pull” or vacuum system, and “push-pull” system. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate the airflow management design process for the three system configurations mentioned above, and to compare their optimum designs with each other given a set of geometrical constraints such as the overall dimensions of the equipment chassis, the card cage, and the type and thickness of the air filter. The design process is explained as a case study involving a typical multi-board rack mounted telecommunication chassis.

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