A Ventilated Shelf For The Linksys EA3500 And My History With Water-Cooled Computers.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

Cisco Linksys EA3500

by Anura Guruge

Prior related posts:
1/ Internet Bandwidth Issues With My TDS Broadband Access
Aug. 28, 2012.

2/ Unless It Is A Dire Emergency Get Your Networking Cables Online; Update On My Internet Bandwidth Woes – Getting 2nd TDS Line!
Aug. 30, 2012.
TDS Highspeed (Fiber) Internet Access In Alton — It REALLY Was The D-Link Router!Sept. 9, 2012.

That my D-Link router was really screwing up my Internet access affected me deeply! It really bothered me and still does. That the problem could have been heat related upset me even more. Since our ‘office’ is in the attic of what is a 4-story colonial the heat rises. Yes, I use A/C much of the Summer as attested to by my electric bills. I pay more to cool this house than to heat it. When I had my main PC built in October 2009 cooling, in terms of fans and a good case, was the #1 priority. No, I will not contemplate liquid cooling for a PC, that is just overkill. [Around 1975, when working for IBM at Hursley, I had the privilege of working on the groundbreaking IBM S/370 Model 168. It was beyond state-of-the-art at that time. It was furthermore water-cooled! I loved that machine. At Hursley, then the largest IBM Lab. outside of the U.S., we ended up with a few of those. When we built the then very modern ‘D-Block’ they coupled the water-cooling heat exchanger of our 168s to the heating system of the building. A building heated by the heat generated by computers. This was around 1978. How cool.

I have to share this picture with you because it shows stuff that so many ‘young’ folks have never even heard of. See those TWO (2) big, black screens, with the big knobs underneath on the left. Those are MICROFICHE readers! Microfiche. Aaaah; talk about nostalgia. Microfiche was the iPad of the 1970s. In those days we learned how to use microfiche readers. So why TWO microfiche readers on a big computer. Basically to fix it when it went wrong. All of the listings of the Operating System, Utilities etc. were on microfiche. You read the code on the microfiche reader while debugging these computers. At Hursley where we were all Techies we would do this all the time. Usually as a team. Somebody calling out PSW readings, another at the microfiche reader trying to find the right chunk of code and others milling around …

The water-cooled IBM S/370 Model 168 which to me was the coolest of computers … I used to spend hours on these 168s.

Anyway back to cooling and routers.

The Linksys EA3500 is a work of art; a contemporary sculptor. No unsightly antennas and all the lights are at the back. 90% of the ventilation ducts are underneath and it is tilted so that there is room for air to circulate. Timothy Barker, the amazing TDS Tech, who fixed our Internet problems and installed the 2nd fiber line to the house said that many people use Linksys routers upside down so the ventilation holes are at the top.

The D-Link router had sat on my desk, behind my 2 monitors for 5 years. But, because of the way the phone jacks are located in this house, the 2nd fiber line was going to be on the other side of the room. So the Linksys could not be on my desk. Since Deanna has a surfeit of little tables and shelves on that side of the room I had assumed we could put it one of those. No way. Deanna wanted it out of the way. She wanted me to build a small shelf and mount it on the wall away from all her other stuff. If there is one thing I can do, that is to build shelves. 40 years of practice given that wherever I live, I am surrounded by books. The Linksys weighs less then 3 pounds. So there was no need for a ‘fancy’ shelf.

But, what I decided was to make it ventilated so as to mitigate future heat-related problems. So I drilled a lot of holes. I also mounted a piece of wood at the back so as to accentuate the routers tilt — again to increase the amount of circulation underneath the router. Also, of course, mounted it about 1″ ahead of the bracket (and I had to drill new holes in the metal brackets for that) so that we could run the cables to the router without problems. Oh, the little brass screws are my quick-and-dirty solution for making sure that the router won’t slide off the shelf. I, of late, use the screw approach often. Works and is easy. When I am really motivated I use embedded dowels, but that would have been too much for this little shelf.

One thing I overlooked. All the lights on the EA3500 are at the back! Most times, IF I want to see them, I can see them reflected off the wall — given that they are bright green. But, I will have to bring a small mirror up here. Anyway, IF you are going to build a shelf for a router think about ventilating it. Yes, for a fee I will build you one.

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