4 operational scenarios that make industrial Ethernet a necessity

The right network gear goes a long way toward accurate data use in industrial settings.

By Max Burkhalter
January 12, 2016
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A long list of industries, including factory automation, transportation management, marine-based businesses, oil and gas companies and mining operations, have a long history of adapting solutions to stand up to intense working conditions. At the same time, these industries have seen their operations become digitized at an alarming rate, requiring the adoption of unfamiliar yet vital pieces of network hardware like Ethernet switches.

This shift in demand has happened more rapidly than most hardware manufacturers expected, meaning that businesses will have to search carefully to find an industrial Ethernet switch with the features necessary to build their network despite disruptive daily operations. Without the right protections, performance of network equipment like Ethernet switches can limit production, contribute toward miscommunications and put organizations at risk of failing a compliance audit.

The following working conditions represent instances that will require IT decision makers to prioritize acquiring industrial Ethernet gear that lives up to its name in terms of performance and reliability.

1. Constant vibrations compromise readings
Be it the result of heavy machinery at work or large vehicles in motion, constant vibrations are a daily reality for factory, marine and military personnel. The use of high-tech sensors, designed to withstand these vibrations and account for this movement in their readings, is common across these fields. However, it's equally common for network operators to overlook the importance of the equipment connecting these sensors to the network in the first place. Organizations risk working with corrupt data if switches fall into disrepair as a result of constant movement. As a result, industrial Ethernet switches with vibration and impact cancelling features are a must.

High heat, vibrations and electromagnetic discharge are common in industrial environments.High heat, vibrations and electromagnetic discharge are common in industrial environments.

2. Chemical exposure must be accounted for
Companies that underestimate the likelihood of a human error in the workplace expose themselves to unnecessary risks. According to Plant Engineering, 35 percent of automation failures occur as a result of a breakdown in the physical realm. In factory and research settings, these scenarios could include exposure to corrosive materials or rapid temperature change as a result of a nearby chemical reaction. Both must be accounted for if IT decision makers hope to underpin their operations by establishing a more reliable network.

3. Hot and cold extremes create reliability issues
Machinery parts commonly found in industrial, chemical and transportation are built to resist extreme temperatures, and organizations can improve the performance of their network by investing in Ethernet equipment with the same capabilities. Near freezing temperatures, for example, make unprotected network gear and cabling more susceptible to physical damage. Similarly, high temperatures can melt internal components and cause component failure as a result of extended exposure to serious heat. Thankfully, fully functional industrial Ethernet switches and other pieces of network gear keep the accuracy of business data from going up in flames.

"Under-funding the network will cost the entire business in the long run."

4. Industry compliance demands heightened security
One arena where many hardware manufacturers are sorely behind in terms of developing solutions is secure, managed network equipment that can be used in industrial environments, according to InformationWeek. However, compliance demands have made these pieces of equipment more important than ever.

High-performance, network secure managed Industrial Ethernet switches are on the market. However, IT professionals must do their due diligence in selecting the right model to match the performance needs while contributing toward comprehensive network security and performance under extreme conditions. Failure to do so could result in loss of client trust and avoidable revenue loss when companies are hit with fees for compliance failure. That's why decision makers must remember that under-funding the network will cost the entire business in the long run.

Perle has over 516 models of Managed Industrial Ethernet Switches with the vast array of options including 10/100/1000 Ethernet, PoE, fiber and combo ports. Perle IDS Industrial-grade Ethernet Switches are ideal for the harsh environments found in industrial factory systems and outdoor applications.


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