Choose the Right Ethernet Switch

With industrial Ethernet quick changing into the network of selection to replace the myriad fieldbuses in each the distinct producing and method industries, your choice of product that type your management and info network infrastructure becomes  as vital as the other a part of your method.

Following are 5 straightforward steps to facilitate you decide on your industrial LAN switches sagely.

1. Match Industrial Specifications. The first step in making certain your switch will meet the trials of the assembly surroundings in your facility is to match your switch’s environmental specifications with those from the opposite automation instrumentation already in your facility.  Read and compare specifications for temperature, moisture, humidity, shock and vibration and noise immunity. Most industrial customers expect their automation equipment to last 10-15 years, and will expect an equivalent out of their industrial LAN network. Because instrumentation wants to survive for this length of your time, you should avoid fans and conjointly pay special attention to your power provides yet. Just as some automation instrumentation is just meant to figure within an effect cupboard, while alternative instrumentation will survive mounted directly to machinery, the same goes for your industrial switch options.

2. Identify the Switch’s Role. Your choice of switch depends on its role and position in your network infrastructure. By infrastructure, we mean a well-designed network with a hierarchy of switches. If your network grew without a arrange by merely adding devices and connecting one switch to consecutive, then you should powerfully contemplate change its style to be a class-conscious infrastructure. You’ll improve your ability to further expand in the future and improve your network’s manageableness, as well as its overall performance and reliability. Following is an define of a class-conscious network infrastructure:

Backbone: You create a network backbone by attachment terribly high-capacity, high-performance switches along to carry network traffic into, out of, and across your industrial area. Select those switches primarily based on performance, with typical backbone-to-backbone port speeds of 10G or higher connected by fiber cable.

Distribution/Workgroups: At the next layer, connect switches that enable you to break your terribly massive network into many smaller ones to enhance security, reliability and management of your overall infrastructure. The switches you select here area unit usually known as workgroup or distribution layer switches.  Look for switches with “layer 3” or “router” functionality, as these features area unit required to break your network into smaller zones or segments by configuring subnets and/or VLANs (virtual native space networks). These distribution switches typically connect to the backbone switches at 1G speeds, while connecting to the “edge” switches below them at 1G or 100M.

Edge: Inside every zone, you’ll find a variety of “edge” switches, often enchained along and then connected to at least one of the layer three workgroup switches.  Most Ethernet devices in a industrial plant these days hook up with those edge switches at 100M, but if you add security cameras or a few newer devices, you’ll find some human action at 1G.

3. Connections & Traffic. Once you know your switch’s role, count the number of things you’ll hook up with that switch (and at what speed) to confirm you choose a switch that matches your wants.  Be sure to think about enlargement by letting many additional ports. Also note that ports rated for higher speeds will conjointly communicate at slower speeds if required, so a 1G port will conjointly communicate at 100M or 10M. If you’re worried concerning traffic speeds or amounts, consider this: By making AN infrastructure, you have effectively designed out nearly all possible bottlenecks.  Most industrial traffic is communicated in very tiny packets that area unit simple for LAN to handle compared to its fieldbus predecessors.

4. Managed or Unmanaged. Some industrial Ethernet switches area unit known as “unmanaged” switches. The advantages to those switches area unit that they’re comparatively low price and need no setup. The disadvantage is that they provide no standing and create it troublesome to troubleshoot the network if and once there area unit issues. In the hierarchical network infrastructure delineate earlier, you should solely contemplate unmanaged switches at the terribly fringe of the network, if at all.

5. Cables & Connectors. Though this article is concentrated on industrial LAN switch choice, it’s equally important to specify appropriate cables and instrumentalitys as a result of it is rather more troublesome to correct coaxial cable and connector problems once installation. Great cable and instrumentality selections exist, and much of the recommendation for switches applies equally here. For more info on the vital choice issues connected to the physical layer of your industrial LAN design, see this Belden white paper that features the “9 necessary Tests” of coaxial cable readiness for the commercial surroundings.

Other options
The five factors listed on top of could be the foremost vital in your industrial LAN switch choice, but there area unit a few alternative LAN switch options which will have a major impact on your system’s price and effectiveness.

Power over Ethernet (PoE).  A number of LAN devices these days will eliminate separate cables and power provides by obtaining their power directly from the coaxial cable. Look for switches with one or more ports that support poet devices.
Redundancy. Industrial Ethernet switches support a variety of options that alter to you create components of your network redundant. These include protocols that let you wire switches with twin information methods or during a ring, redundant power supply inputs in case one fails, and automatic backup and restore of a switch’s configuration to reduce period of time.
Security. We powerfully advocate you style your network infrastructure with security embedded from the begin, using layer 3/distribution switches as well as sanctionative key security measures. If you require a lot of security, industrial security devices act as layer 3 switches/routers and add even a lot of security to your infrastructure.  For more on industrial LAN security, see the “5 Steps to Practical Cyber Security” article.
IEEE-1588/Precision Time Protocol. This standard is used in power transmission and distribution substations, precision motion management applications and first-fault-detection applications to give sub-millisecond accuracy. Specify this for all switches positioned between automation devices.
Preconfigured for Industrial Protocols. Some industrial switches come preconfigured for fashionable industrial LAN protocols like EtherNet/IP or Profinet. These options cut back setup time and quality.