Choosing The Right Industrial Ethernet Switch

Since 1980 when Ethernet fist introduces the industrial connectivity has come a long way, from regular Industrial_switchsRS232, RS422, and RS485 to now industrial equipment are moving over to Ethernet, currently the new industrial equipment are coming with Ethernet ready, and there is lots of Ethernet device server that will convert your old serial equipment to Ethernet ready. With all the equipment are moving over to Ethernet it is very important to pick the right Industrial Ethernet switch, just look at the price on industrial Ethernet switch, it starts somewhere from less than $100 for 5-port model to a few thousand dollars for a top-of-line managed switch, why is the range so big? And what is the right one for your application. We are going to discuss things that will help you select the right switch for the right job.


Industrial Specifications

The place you install the switch is very important on which switch to pick, is the industrial switch going toIndustrail_cirtificate Industrail_cirtificateplace in a very hot environment, or very cold environment? Is it going to place in an outdoor environment? Or is it going to be under the water? Or it is going to be in a moving car? Or 19 inch rack mounting is required? For all the above application there is an industrial switch that meets the specific requirements, pick the right switch will help out your particular application implement with ease.


Identify the Role of the Switch in the Network

Each type of switch has its own role, there are basically 3 different roles for the switch in a networkSwitch’s RoleSwitch’s Role

Core: Where you have very high-traffic, or the major server location, or connection between locations where there are lots of the network traffic, in this location you want to use so called "backbone switch" with higher data capacity, high-performance and network redundancy capability, with these functions the backbone switch will help out with faster network response, minimum down time and less data packet loss.

Distribution: connect switches that enable you to break your very large network into several smaller ones to improve security, reliability and management of your overall infrastructure. Within this type of switch you want switch with redundancy capability, network management functions and have good performance.

Access: Using "edge switch" that connects to end device, these switch doesn’t have to be powerful, but they have to be able to support the industrial environment where the end devices are located and to be reliable.

Managed or Unmanaged switch

Some industrial Ethernet switches are called “unmanaged” switches. The advantages of these switches are that they are relatively low cost and require very easy setup. The disadvantage is that they provide no network status and make it difficult to troubleshoot the network if and when there are problems. In the hierarchical network infrastructure described earlier, you should only consider unmanaged switches at the very edge of the network. If you want redundancy for your network, or feature like VLAN, QoS, IGMP, SNMP, port mirroring and bandwidth management then you need managed switch. Managed swich not only provide faster transfer speed, but it also provide functions to help data travel reliably thought the network.

Additional Features to Consider

Following are some popular functions for industrial Ethernet switch that you might be interested.

PTP (Precision Time Protocol) - This standard is used in power transmission and distribution substations, precision motion control applications and first-fault-detection applications to provide sub-millisecond accuracy. Specify this for all switches positioned between automation devices for network communication applications require precision timing.

Preconfigured for Industrial Protocols - Some industrial switches come preconfigured for popular industrial Ethernet protocols like EtherNet/IP or Profinet. These options reduce setup time and complexity.

Here are the products with these features.

Related Articles