In this 'Viewpoint', we provide a brief insight into Industrial Ethernet and some of its many applications. Plus we introduce the comprehensive suite of Industrial Ethernet products available from Lanode.
Industrial Ethernet (IE) refers to the use of standard Ethernet protocols with rugged connectors and extended temperature switches in an industrial environment, typically for automation or process control. Components used in plant process areas must be designed to work in harsh environments of temperature extremes, humidity, and vibration that exceed the ranges for information technology equipment intended for installation in controlled environments.
The use of fibre Ethernet reduces the problems of electrical noise and provides electrical isolation to prevent equipment damage. Typically, industrial use of Ethernet use full-duplex standards and other methods so that collisions do not unacceptably influence transmission times. By using standard Ethernet, automation systems from different manufacturers can be interconnected throughout a process plant. Industrial Ethernet takes advantage of the relatively larger marketplace for computer interconnections using Ethernet to reduce cost and improve performance of communications between industrial controllers.
Industrial Ethernet Applications
The application fields for Industrial Ethernet range from collecting environmental information to video surveillance of critical systems. Transportation and traffic companies rely on the selection of such communication and data technology for:
- increasing future data rates
- high security requirements
- maximum availability
- demand for transmission of real time data
- use in rough environments along the transportation tracks such as highways, tunnels, waterways
These conditions were not foreseen during the initial development of the Ethernet protocol. To create reliable solutions, these Industrial applications place a high demand on product quality and resilience. That in turn requires state-of-the-art semiconductor technology to be used that guarantee high shock and vibration stability of such Industrial Ethernet devices.
For example, easy operability, speed, reliability and security are important factors for the efficient and economical operation of railway systems and equipment in the transportation sector. To reach this target automation technology is used widely. Industrial Fibre products need to be hardened and adaptable for harsh and industrial environments.
While industrial Ethernet systems use the same protocols as Ethernet applied to office automation, industrial plant use requires consideration of the environment in which the equipment must operate. Plant-floor equipment must tolerate a wider range of temperature, vibration, and electrical noise than equipment installed in dedicated information-technology areas. Since closed-loop process control may rely on an Ethernet link, economic cost of interruptions may be high and availability is therefore an essential criterion. Industrial Ethernet networks must interoperate with both current and legacy systems, and must provide predictable performance and maintainability. In addition to physical compatibility and low-level transport protocols, a practical industrial Ethernet system must also provide interoperability of higher levels of the OSI model. An industrial network must provide security both from intrusions from outside the plant, and from inadvertent or unauthorized use within the plant.
Industrial networks often use network switches to segment a large system into logical sub-networks, divided by address, protocol, or application. Using network switches allows the network to be broken up into many small collision domains. This reduces the risk of a faulty or misconfigured device generating excess network traffic. When an industrial network must connect to an office network or external networks, a firewall system can be inserted to control exchange of data between the networks. To preserve the performance and reliability of the industrial network, often general office automation systems are separated from the network used for control or I/O devices.
Lanode's Industrial Ethernet Portfolio
Our Industrial Ethernet products are typically used to build redundant LAN backbones for Intelligent Transportation Systems. The range includes:
Industrial Ethernet Switches & Converters: featuring managed and unmanaged & serial converters
Industrial PoE Switches & Converters: featuring managed and unmanaged, PoE Lan Extenders & Injectors
Power Substation & Transport: featuring IEC 61850 Ethernet Switches, EN50155 managed, unmanaged and PoE Switches & Industrial Core Switches
and finally Industrial Power Supplies, Serial Server & SFP's