Industrial Ethernet – Using Ethernet Switches
Over the past 15 to 20-years there are been a dramatic increase in the use of Ethernet networks in industry. The automation processes within industry are usually made up of autonomous control systems, each carrying out their ‘black-box’ tasks to ensure a piece of plant works efficiently and reliably as possible. In the early days of industrial ethernet communication, most systems were patched together using off-the-shelf unmanaged ethernet switches or even hubs! These were generally manufactured for the home environment and were not designed to be robust enough to cope with the industrial ethernet needs.
The use of ethernet networks to move data around the industrial environment led to the development of more robust industrial ethernet switches and fast ethernet switches. The amount of data transmitted over these networks had to ensure the information reached its destination. Industrial ethernet switches have many features that make them ideal for harsh environments such as:
- Increased bandwidth and speeds up to 1Gb per second
- Increased operating temperature ranges
- Incorporation of fibre ports to facilitate copper to fibre connectivity