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Industrial Ethernet Environments

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Industrial Ethernet environments are innately different than many of today's high speed data center environments. Ethernet's simple and effective design combined with the relatively low cost of Ethernet hardware, have made it an attractive network design in industrial networks. In Industrial and Manufacturing environments, change is considered disruption to the floor. Most industrial networks are still running at either 10M or 100M with 100BaseFX or 100BaseTX cabling.  In addition to running at these lower speeds, Industrial Ethernet environments often run on older equipment, with many computers often found on the manufacturing floor still operating on Windows 95.

Environmental Considerations
The main reason that Industrial Ethernet environments are different than data center or enterprise environments is that the environment plays a major role in the types of cabling that you can install in your network.  Effectively, the cable and all other network components must be compatible with the environment.

Twisted or bonded pair

Jacket Types:
PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
FRNC (Flame Retardant Non-Corrosive)
TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer)
PUR (Polyurethane)

Ruggedness & Performance:
Cold blend
Cold impact
Cut through
High temperatures
Oil resistance
UV exposure
Water immersion

Power & Mounting:
Racks are rarely used in Industrial environments. Instead the solution of choice is a DIN Rail for mounting purposes. The goal in these environments is to have as few moving parts as possible to minimize the risk of a cable coming unplugged or disrupting the network.

DC Power
Power over Ethernet (PoE) or (PoE+)


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Defending the Industrial Ethernet

Ethernet isn't new technology. Offices of all sizes have made the mode to Ethernet connections to keep up with variable Internet traffic demands.  The Industrial Ethernet will undoubtedly bring benefits to manufacturing automation and critical infrastructures - but only if it is deployed and maintained correctly. Securing the Industrial Ethernet will be a major hurdle for the industrial sector as manufacturers move from their proprietary serial port-to-port infrastructures to Ethernet protocols.

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Defending the Industrial Ethernet

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