Advantages of Polycarbonate for Outdoor WiFi Applications

Advantages of Polycarbonate for Outdoor WiFi Applications

Integra polycarbonate enclosures are known for their durability in outdoor applications. Offering a minimum NEMA 4X on all models and 6P rating on most, Integra enclosures will survive the toughest conditions. Compared to its fiberglass equivalents, polycarbonate offers superior impact resistance, making it an ideal material for open-air applications, such as outdoor WiFi.

Polycarbonate is a common material used in outdoor WiFi applications due to its superior benefits when compared to other common enclosure materials.  When an enclosure is deployed in an outdoor application, every cut and hole becomes a potential entry point for water and insects. Polycarbonate reduces the number of holes required due to its radio frequency characteristics.  Radio waves pass through polycarbonate with minimal attenuation or interference. This property allows the WiFi antenna to be housed within the enclosure, eliminating the need for external antenna mounting and additional holes.  Additionally, while polycarbonate is extremely rigid, it is also flexible enough to allow for a 100% non-metallic hinge and latch design, further minimizing the risk of corrosion and RF interference from metal hardware.  Integra Enclosures offers 100% non-metallic enclosures with an optional clear polycarbonate cover. Clear covers are transparent and are a superior alternative to mechanically affixed window kits for the same reasons.

Polycarbonate enclosures are up to 40% lighter than their fiberglass equivalents and offers excellent UV and environmental resistance. On fiberglass enclosures, the UV protection is a coating that attempts to protect the fibers from deterioration but inevitably fails once the elements or external damage compromises it.  With polycarbonate, the UV inhibitor is inherent in the formulation and uniform throughout the material, allowing for complete protection regardless of abrasion or external cosmetic damage.

Structurally, polycarbonate is stable and, compared to other materials, maintains its tensile strength across a broad temperature range (-40° F to 265° F.)  Additionally, Integra Enclosures are designed to deflect rain and ice due to the slightly convex molding at the top of the enclosure. This design protects the enclosure allowing it to adequately perform in the field over time.

Finally, polycarbonate is easily machined with common, off-the-shelf tools to customize the enclosure to fit your application. Most outdoor WiFi applications typically only require a single weatherproof cord-grip to be added for a network wire running PoE. Integra offers a variety of customizations including silk screening, vinyl overlays, laser etching, and pre-drilled holes for connector openings.  Additionally, your enclosure can be pre-fitted with many common pieces of hardware.  Options such as cord grips, air vents, fan shrouds, filters, DIN rails, latches, back panels, and pole-mount kits are available on most all models.  For more information about Integra, call us or visit our website today.

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