NEBS 3 compliance—what it is and why it's needed
The need for NEBS-compliant hardware
Telecom networks are distributed and include both remote and centralized sites to various degrees. Many of these sites were acquired decades ago to be used for central offices where the network equipment is housed. These buildings, or central offices, may not be modern as many recently built centralized datacenters, for example, when it comes to controlling temperature, humidity, vibration, and acoustic limits.
Sometimes operators must deploy equipment in containers or other outdoor environments, which makes it even more challenging to control the physical conditions. This wouldn’t be a problem if everything could be placed in one modern datacenter since the facility would have all the features needed to ensure that the environment is perfectly optimized for the hardware in operation.
A key feature for hardware that must endure varying and tough physical conditions is NEBS (Network Equipment-Building Practice) compliance. NEBS comprises a number of guidelines for designing equipment that can be deployed where the operating conditions often are challenging.
The strictest level is NEBS3 and by adhering to these guidelines, your hardware will be solid as a rock. When hardware is placed in a modern datacenter, it can have a different hardware design approach since the environment can be controlled to a much higher degree.
The core of NEBS
What typically is essential for equipment in tough environments is that it must continuously sustain operating temperatures up to 55 degrees Celsius without performance degradation. This is enabled both by using embedded long-life components and intelligent software-controlled fans. Another important characteristic is that the equipment must sustain a power feed outage lasting longer than 10 milliseconds.
In other words, this is the time the hardware must be able to operate, from the time a power failure happens until the battery backup or diesel generators kick in. A tough environment also means performance must be secured under extreme conditions; for example, equipment must be operational after being subjected to an earthquake reaching ~7 to 8 on the Richter scale.
Equipment requirements for safety
Because many central office locations are attended by personnel, the equipment must have inbuilt EMC protection for safety reasons. Another important requirement is the noise level inside the building: it can’t be too high for working environment reasons. The cooling facility of the equipment needs to take air from the front and stream the hot air upwards to the ceiling to mix it with the cooler air in the room. This must be done without the need for expensive site-cooling equipment.
Using this principle results in an even temperature across the room. In datacenter facilities, the principle of hot and cold aisles is used since the equipment must operate at lower temperatures. The hot air is “removed” from the room.
Ericsson Blade Server Platform 8100 (BSP 8100) is an industry-standard Intel® architecture-based and NEBS3-compliant infrastructure blade server that is suitable for all types of control and payload applications. The Intel® Xeon® processor D-2100 product family will be integrated into Ericsson BSP 8100 to make the infrastructure even better for NFV.
Learn more about Ericsson BSP 8100!
Co-author: Magnus Blomqvist
Magnus Blomqvist has a master of Science in Industrial Engineering and Management. Magnus has a 32 year background at Ericsson where most of the time has been as Head of Product Management within Core Networks. Magnus current position is within Solution Area Cloud and NFVi as Product Manager of Ericsson Blade Server and Ericsson Edge Datacenter System.
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