Choices for outdoor computing

Posted on 2008-10-04
Last Modified: 2008-10-27
My company is looking to deploy an outdoor camera processing system.  The only connection available between the field and lab is wireless and this is not suitable for transmitting camera images.  Instead we will set up the cameras and outdoor computers on a LAN.  This will be a stationary system.  All of the outdoor hardware I have seen is to do with rugged laptops (doesn't suit our needs), or rugged pcs (intended to be installed in vehicles, not as a stationary all year outdoor system).

My question is: what options are there for outdoor computer hardware.  Ideally there will be one weatherproof cabinet that houses a computer rack with multiple server PCs and a switch.

The other option I see is to have each PC be weather proof.  Something like this:,2908.html
However that PC is for home entertainment.
Question by:alexatsearidge
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Accepted Solution

pmwrightjr earned 500 total points
ID: 22643428
A couple of years ago, we deployed an outdoor computer cabinet to a remote hilltop that contains microwave equipment, a UPS, a switch, router, VoIP equipment and VHF base stations.  It was a 19-inch rack format box about 4 feet high with a small air-conditioner mounted on the side.  It has been up there in continuous operation through the harshest of Southwestern desert conditions and we've never had a problem.  None of the equipment inside the enclosure is weatherized except that we did, where possible, specify extended temperature ranges due to the extreme heat if the A/C stops working.

I believe it was from a company called BR Datasystems and the product line is called the Austrak IP line of cabinets.  To find other vendors, just do a Web search using the term "harsh environment computer enclosures" and you'll come up with a lot of potential vendors because protecting computers is a common problem in factories as computers move out on to the factory floor.

Expert Comment

ID: 22645112
The distance to the site,and whether it is "clear sight", and the budget is crucial point to decide.
IP camera, is usialy very usefull in this kind of situation.
Theoreticly IP camera , simly can be connected to the wireles bridge(wide varaity of bandwith) to office directly where is the media file storoge can be located- in situation, whhen there is not a lot of cameras.
If there is a lot of camera, then better use local storage/DVR.
Advice combination on this topic is endless.
Main things about wireless-  further distance=less RF power= less bandwith=more money.
Each repeater will cut bandwith 50%.
Use Fiber Optic Bulk  and placing $500-1000/24-48 port switch on other end can give you full 1GB to the site, if you can run cable to it. Every IP cam can be connected by CAT5 to the PoPE switch, simplifyiing installation.


Expert Comment

ID: 22645786
Or momentary solution with no option for future expantion/quality increase

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