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Industrial Switch: Advantages and Different Types

Updated on Dec 16, 2021 by
3.6k

Industrial Ethernet switches

Industrial switches are now playing a more and more important role in various industries such as environmental protection, mining, transportation, and smart city surveillance, etc. It is well known that industrial switches are manufactured specifically for industrial environments, but do you really know what industrial switches are and their key advantages and diverse types? The following content will answer your questions.

What Is Industrial Switch?

An industrial switch refers to a networking device that is specifically designed to operate in harsh industrial environments. It is used to connect and manage communications between various devices, such as computers, servers, sensors, and other network-enabled equipment, in industrial settings like manufacturing plants, power stations, oil refineries, and transportation systems.

Industrial switches are built to withstand extreme temperatures, electrical noise, vibrations, and other challenging conditions that are commonly found in industrial environments. They are usually housed in rugged enclosures with hardened components to ensure reliable and uninterrupted operation.

Industrial switch scenarios

Key Advantages of Industrial Switches

Adapt to Wide Temperature Environment

An industrial switch is built specifically to withstand wide swings in temperature as well extreme weather conditions including high humidity and exposure to moisture. Therefore, industrial switches have high requirements for component selection, they generally use a pleated metal casing for faster heat dissipation and greater protection, which allows them to work well in the temperature range of -40°C to 85°C and can be well adapted to complex temperatures and humidity.

Adapt to Wide Temperature Environment

Super Anti-interference Performance

It is known that high levels of electrical noise can cause interference in network connections. Industrial switches have strong anti-interference performance, and can work in harsh electromagnetic environments. What's more, they also have high protection levels in lightning protection, waterproof, anti-corrosion, anti-shock, anti-static, etc.

Redundant Power Supply Design

The power supply is a very important part of switches. Power failures generally account for more than 35% of equipment failure rates. Industrial switches are designed with dual power supply redundancy in order to avoid the trouble of power failure and to ensure a stable and reliable operation. In addition, industrial switch system design also enables them to offer a variety of hot-swappable media modules (such as RJ45, SFP, PoE) and power units to provide greater flexibility and availability, especially for continuity-critical operations.

Fast Ring Network, Fast Redundancy

Industrial switches have an ability to form fast redundant networks in order to build reliable industrial networks for you with super fast self-healing time less than 50 milliseconds, which means they can provide faster recovery from a failed data pathway. For example, in some industrial scenarios, the cost of production line shutdown can be huge; or if the power plant or transmission monitoring is abnormal, the damage is incalculable. Under these kinds of conditions, industrial switches can help reinforce insurance to avoid these abnormal events.

Long Service Life

Industrial switches use industrial solutions from the shell material to the companion components as downtime costs in industrial environments are often considerable, which means they have higher reliability and a longer service life. Commercial switches may have a life cycle of 3 to 5 years, while industrial Ethernet switches can be kept working for 10 years or more.

Diverse Types of Industrial Switches

Industrial switches come with a variety of functions and features. Based on these characteristics, switches can be categorized as either managed or unmanaged, with or without Power over Ethernet (PoE), and designed for DIN-rail or rackmount installation. The following breakdown elucidates these distinctions:

Unmanaged / Managed Industrial Switches

A managed industrial switch enables comprehensive control over your Local Area Network (LAN), allowing for configuration, management, and monitoring of network settings. Designed for rugged environments, this type of switch facilitates intricate management of Ethernet LAN traffic within industrial settings. Meanwhile, an unmanaged industrial switch offers simplicity and convenience with its plug-and-play functionality, requiring no setup for immediate network integration.

Industrial PoE / Non-PoE Switches

PoE switch is a networking device with PoE passthrough that has multiple Ethernet ports to connect network segments. It not only transmits network data but also supplies power via an Ethernet network cable. Non-PoE switch, as the name suggests, there is no PoE in the switch to supply electrical power for end-users over Ethernet.

PoE/non-PoE switches that feature an industrial design that can provide resistance to moisture, dust, dirt, oil, or other foreign substances that might otherwise damage the equipment are called industrial PoE switches or non-PoE switches. The high-capacity PoE budget of an industrial PoE switch can be leveraged to deploy and power nearby substation field equipment including IP surveillance cameras and valve controls.

Note: An industrial PoE switch can also be divided into managed industrial PoE switch and unmanaged industrial PoE switch.

DIN-rail Switch / Rackmount Switch / Wall-mount Switch

Industrial Ethernet switches support different mounting types and can be installed exactly where you need them, whether on a standard DIN-rail (a widely used standard metal rail used to mount control equipment in industrial networking solutions), in the control cabinet, or outside the control cabinet. Frequently used industrial switches include DIN-rail, wall-mount, and rackmount models. These specially designed switches can provide flexible mounting options for easy installation, which is ideal for efficient use of cabinet space in harsh environments.

Summary

Nowadays, industrial switches are effective building blocks for corporate and manufacturing or industrial networks worldwide. Using highly durable housings and a compact footprint, industrial Ethernet switches are designed to fit in confined spaces and operate in harsh environments as we have explained in above contents. If you are looking for reliable network switches for industrial deployment, you can always trust FS industrial switches.

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