IP Ratings Explainer

IP ratings - explainer

IP ratings, or Ingress Protection ratings, are a standardised benchmark of how capable a product is of withstanding ingress from foreign entities that could negatively impact its functionality. They’re helpful because terms like ‘weatherproof’ and ‘waterproof’ are unspecific terms and don’t always convey the necessary level of detail – waterproof on one device can mean it’s capable of withstanding rain. In contrast, on another device, it can mean being capable of complete submersion in water for extended periods.

An IP rating consists of two numbers: the first relates to how well a device withstands ingress from foreign bodies and particles (i.e. dust), whereas the second refers to protection from water and other liquids. For example, in an IP rating of 65, the 6 refers to dust protection while the 5 refers to water protection.

Regarding outdoor devices such as the kind we sell (i.e. access points, antennas, enclosures, etc.), IP ratings for foreign bodies don’t typically go lower than 5. This is because 5 is the level it needs to reach to be sufficiently protected so it won’t be damaged or impeded by dust ingress. 6, the highest in this scale, requires a vacuum seal to prevent ingress even under continuous airflow.

On the moisture ingress scale, a rating as low as 2 is all that’s needed for protection from rain in almost all conditions. Ratings 3 and 4 offer protection from spray in various directions while 5 and 6 indicate protection from directed jets of water – these aren’t going to be important in many scenarios but could be something to think about if the equipment’s going to be positioned somewhere with severe rain conditions. 7 and upwards indicate protection against complete immersion in water, which typically won’t be required for the equipment we supply. At the highest level of the moisture protection rating is 9K - along with protection from extended immersion in water up to great depths, this also guarantees protection even against hot, high-pressure jet sprays and steam cleaning procedures.

IEC IP Ratings

The IEC has developed the ingress protection (IP) ratings, which grade the resistance of an enclosure against the intrusion of dust or liquids. See their website for more information