The Breakdown on EIA-310

on Thursday, June 25, 2015 9:15:00 AM

Like all industries, there are numerous standards to adhere to and certifications to achieve when manufacturing and distributing products. In the IT server rack and cabinet industry, there is no exception. One of the main standards Kendall Howard meets is EIA-310. You’ve probably noticed that 90% of our products indicate that they are compliant to this standard. But why is that and what does this standard mean?

We’ll get to all of that, but first, why is this standard important? The simple answer is to provide choices for consumers. Because EIA-310 exists, consumers are able to choose the components they want from the manufacture they trust. They aren’t limited to just one company or one particular branding. They can choose network devices from any company, such as HP, Cisco, Dell, Lenovo, D-Link, and so on. No matter which company manufactured or sold this product, as long as products adhere to the standards set forth by EIA-310, consumers know these devices will fit in their rack. It’s a simple way consumers can assess what products are available to them and that their options are.

But what does it mean for a product to be EIA-310 compliant? This standard was developed to ensure that the equipment in different manufacturing locations is both compatible and interchangeable. (This reinforces the idea that when it comes to server racks and cabinets, it doesn’t matter where it’s from. As long as you know which standard it adheres to, and in this case it’s EIA-310, you know its functionality and where you can install these products.) The EIA specification mandates the following for all 19” racks:

  • Mounting Hole Pattern:
    • The spacing is 18.312” from the center of one mounting hole to the center or the adjacent rails.
  • Width:
    • This is defined as the distance between the rails and is crucial to know so that the equipment can nicely fit in the rack. The distance between the rails is 17.772” (+/- 0.0030). This applies to the front face of the rail only.
  • Height:
    • EIA-310 equipment is measured in terms of a rack unit (or U) space. One U space is 1.75” high. When equipment is installed in a rack, each U space is not to exceed 1.73” and the height must grow in increments of 1.75".

In addition to these mandated specifications, there are other key elements not required by EIA-310, but often seen in this industry. Here are some of those variations:

  • Equipment/Rack Depth:
    • Equipment depth will vary by type and by manufacturer. Servers, switches, UPS systems, and other devices all have different depths. But that’s why Kendall Howard has products with depths ranging from 6” – 36” to accommodate dozens of styles, sizes, and types.
  • Rail Thread Size:
    • There is no standard thread size, but the most common sizes are 10-32, 12-24, M5, and M6. Kendall Howard offers hardware in all four varieties in various quantities starting at 50 packs and going up to bulk packs of 5,000 pieces.
  • In addition, there are also numerous rail types including tapped, cage nut, and round holes/slip nuts (even though this type is not as common).
  • Rails are available in both tapped and cage nut style to accommodate various installations.

The EIA-310 compliance provides design guidance for manufacturers and ultimately provides many options for the consumer. Instead of having proprietary sizes of equipment and racks determined by a manufacturer, EIA-310 gives you the comfort of a “one size fits all solution” because you will know that products made from different brands will work together and create one complete, unified rack.

For more details on how EIA-310 impacts the design of Kendall Howard products, please feel free to contact us at or click the Live Chat button!


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