Back-of-classroom cabinets boost school district’s info-tech upgrade

Nov. 1, 2007
APWMayville ( recently completed a multi-year project with St. Paul School District in Minnesota...

APWMayville ( recently completed a multi-year project with St. Paul School District in Minnesota that saw hundreds of its Mini Max wall cabinets installed in various district schools to improve information technology (IT) in the classroom.

Gene Osterberg, owner and president of Genesis Technical Marketing, and APWMayville’s sales representative for the school district, explains that the district wanted a cabinet that could fit securely on the wall in the back of the classroom, and provide plenty of ventilation for heat-generating equipment while minimizing noise level. The district also wanted to ensure the cabinets had security features to guarantee that only administrative personnel could access equipment.

Mini Max cabinets are designed to fit securely on the wall in the back of a classroom, and feature non-removable hinges to enhance security.
Click here to enlarge image

“The Mini Max wall cabinet offers enough space to house equipment for classroom IT upgrades without being obtrusive to the classroom,” says Osterberg. “Tests and evaluations proved that these cabinets could handle the weight and were durable. The cabinets also did not sag over time, as did some lower quality products.”

The wall-mount cabinets feature non-removable hinges designed to prevent unauthorized access, ensuring that only administrative staff have access. “Vented side panels allow plenty of air flow through the cabinets while suppressing noise,” Osterberg adds. “Other products with completely perforated side panels allowed an unacceptably high ambient noise level in the classroom.”

Each cabinet houses a Cisco IT switch and a fiber panel that connects to various data drops in the classroom for computer connections. The fiber panel can handle up to 70 computer connections. An Ethernet backbone runs from each cabinet to the main school server, while various Category 6 cables connect to main and intermediate distribution frames for server connections and electrical power. A UPS system backs up all power on the server rack in the main distribution frame.

With its three distinct sections, the Mini Max is designed for simplified maintenance. Access to the rear of the cabinet is simplified since the center area swings out from the wall for access to the rear of the equipment, its connections, and cable runs. The front door of the Mini Max swings open for access to front panel equipment settings.

Ventilation, low noise, and security are key features of the Mini Max wall cabinets, used throughout the St. Paul, MN school district.
Click here to enlarge image

Peoples Electric ( of St. Paul led the cabinet installations for each classroom. Project manager Mike Smith says, “The extra space in the cabinet allows for larger fiber panels, and those extra ports can be used to simplify cable runs if a classroom wants to add more computers.”

Smith concludes, “Instead of making 150 to 200-foot cable runs down the hallways, the staff can make 50 to 70-foot runs inside the classroom. Once everything is terminated, it’s all set. The switches and the ports are right there, and that cuts down on the school district’s costs in the long run.” Short runs…

PINCKNEYVILLE, IL-The stock interests of cable tray maker GS Metals ( have been sold to cable tray competitor Cooper B-Line ( GS Metals employs approximately 175 at its Pinckneyville facilities, and manufactures a line of metal products and systems used in commercial and industrial construction worldwide. The company added Flextray, a cable management system, to its product line in 1995.

NEW YORK CITY-At recent trade shows, fiber developer Mitsubishi International Corp. ( and compound semiconductor maker Firecomms ( unveiled a joint home networking solution using polymer optical fiber (POF). “With data rates of up top to 1 Gbit and assured quality-of-service to every device in the residence, POF is the most robust technology for 100 Mbits/sec Optical Ethernet and 250 Mbits/sec Optical FireWire in the home,” says Hugh Hennessy, Firecomms vice president of worldwide sales and marketing. Billed as easy to terminate with its “garden hose” connectivity, POF is said to be entirely immune to electrical noise, and existing copper wiring will not interfere with data transfers-a key for multimedia transmission.

IVYLAND, PA-An expansion at Lynn Electronics Corp.’s ( facility has doubled its capacity to manufacture copper, coaxial, and fiber-optic patch cords and cable assemblies. In addition, the company says a recent expansion of its 100,000-square-foot warehouse allows for stocking of a complete line of voice, telco, and data products.

NORCROSS, GA-Defem (, one of Europe’s leading wire tray manufacturers, recently installed its CombiRack system at BICSI’s ( training facilities in Tampa, FL. Norcross-based Hyperline Systems (, U.S. distributor for the products, provided many of the materials needed to complete the installation. The combined wire tray and rack system was chosen because of its cable control benefits, adaptability to different cabinet/rack configurations, and EMS/equipotential bonding capabilities.

HICKORY, NC-Corning Cable Systems has unveiled its online 10G Connectivity Resource Center ( The web site provides users with analysis of optical fiber and UTP options, plus interactive tools and calculators. Topics include transmission performance, data rate scalability, pathway and space utilization, electronics port density, power and cooling efficiencies, and ease of installation and testing.

DUBLIN, IRELAND-”Structured Cabling Systems Market Share Analysis: August 2007” from Research and Markets ( features executive strategic briefings that provide concise impact reports. The briefings identify the world’s major structured cabling systems suppliers and their market share, market shares by UTP copper and fiber cabling, historical industry share and analysis, and current and future industry direction.

PITTSBURGH, PA-InventHelp ( says two of its clients, inventors from Dingley, Australia, have designed a prototype device that may facilitate cable clip installation. The Quick Clip Fastener would make installing cable clip brackets quicker and easier, and eliminate reliance on less effective cable securing devices. For more information, write: Dept. 05-MLB-154, InventHelp, 217 Ninth St., Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or call (412) 288-1300 x1368.

TINLEY PARK, IL-NeoPhonetics (, which designs custom enterprise VoIP systems, has launched a Network Assessment Tool that lets a company considering a data VoIP solution to determine whether their cabling, switching and routers, and network bandwidth are VoIP-compatible. “Instead of verbally administrating the Network Assessment Tool, both current and potential customers can now simply go to our web site and answer the questions in just three minutes,” says CEO Chad Agate “In the way that doctors screen to determine if more tests are necessary, this tool can be used to determine if a business’ network is clearly ready for VoIP or if further evaluation is needed.”

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