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A Quick Guide to Industrial Switches

Industrial switches play a crucial role in various industrial applications to help your network stay up and keep it running even in the least favorable circumstances. When network devices are deployed in harsh environments, the reliability of the commercial switches will be greatly challenged by the wide swings in temperature, high humidity, excessive heat, etc., while the industrial switches have the stability and capability to maintain a robust network connection and adapt to complex industrial environments. They are generally immune to shock, vibration and extreme temperature fluctuations ranging from -40°C to 75°C.

Industrial Switch Overview

The industrial switches are specially designed and manufactured to withstand harsh weather conditions and industrial environments to minimize network downtime. What’s more, they are certified to meet the standards of various communication protocols like EN 50121, EN 50155, IEC 61850, etc., to ensure that they can tolerate an extended range of temperature, electrical noise, vibration, EMI, etc., making them ideal for harsh working environments like industrial and factory automation, railways and transportation systems, oil and gas platforms, mining sites, etc. Moreover, some of the industrial switches are also protected in a rugged enclosure that is IP-graded (Ingress Protection) to protect the switches from water ingress.

Moreover, these industrial switches are available as PoE and non-PoE. The industrial PoE switch can deliver electrical power and data to powered devices like wireless access points, IP surveillance cameras, and various industrial and transportation equipment. The industrial PoE switches can deliver power and data to the powered device at the same time via a single Ethernet cable. With no need to connect to mains power, PoE allows for quick outdoor installation without installing new electrical infrastructure. However, the non-PoE models, namely the industrial Ethernet switches can only transmit data to the connected device.

Commercial vs. Industrial PoE Switch?

The industrial PoE switch is more reliable than the commercial PoE switch. It’s resistant to electrical or magnetic noise, exposure to chemicals or combustible environments, etc., which makes it ideal for industrial applications. It can work well from -40°C to 75°C, while the commercial PoE switch can only work in a temperature range between 0°C and 40°C. The industrial PoE switch has a longer life span of up to 10 years (MTBF: 300,000 hours), while the commercial PoE switch can only last for 3-5 years (MTBF: 50,000 hours). Moreover, the commercial PoE switch only has one power supply, while the industrial switch normally has two power inputs as backup power to avoid power failure and ensure stable and reliable operation. And for heat dissipation, the industrial switch will use a fan-less enclosure to dissipate the heat from the actual hardware, while the commercial one is usually fan-distributed so dust and dirt will accumulate inside.

Industrial Switches Recommendation

According to their functions, industrial switches can be divided into unmanaged or managed industrial switches, industrial PoE switches or non-PoE switches, etc. With a wide variety of features to consider, you need to carefully choose the most appropriate industrial switches for your network. And Fastcabling has launched different types of industrial PoE switches that suit most industrial applications in harsh environments.

Highlights of FC Industrial PoE Switches

Industrial switches with high reliability and redundancy have emerged as the perfect solution for complex industrial applications. Here, we have listed some of the main characteristics of our industrial PoE switches.

1. Rugged Design & Construction

The industrial PoE switch is built specifically to adapt to the harsh conditions in industrial applications like oil and gas, mining, etc. With a rugged design, it can deliver data and power stably in extreme temperatures from -40° to 75°C. Protected in a hardened enclosure of IP40 or higher protection ratings, the industrial switch is designed to withstand water and dust ingress. Each PoE port is armed with carrier-grade surge protection to protect the PoE switch from lightning strikes, unstable power input and electrical surges.

2. Redundant Power Supply

The power supply is a very important part of PoE switches. Power failures account for more than 35% of network outages. However, the industrial PoE switches have dual DC inputs, guaranteeing a stable and reliable connection in harsh environments. Each power supply has the ability to work independently, which ensures that even if one power supply fails, the other takes over. So there is no downtime at all. The redundant power supply ensures maximum uptime and reliable operation in continuity-critical operations, avoiding the trouble of costly shutdowns and other disruptive events.

3. Fast Failover Recovery

By using the industrial PoE switch, high-level redundancy and up-time protection will be added to your network. It integrates the advanced ERPS technology and STP feature into the industrial network to enable the device to quickly recover from network crashes and protect Ethernet traffic (loss recovery<50 msec). This network failover technology can help redirect traffic in the event of a link or node failure and can be configured on any data port of the switch, including the fiber ports, which makes problem diagnosis and troubleshooting even easier. Moreover, the simplicity of the ring structure makes it easy to locate points of failure. 

4. Flexible Mounting Options

Most industrial PoE switches have DIN Rail or wall mount options. DIN rail mounting is the default method for installing crucial electrical devices, and the rail-type industrial switches do not need to be fixed with screws and are easy to maintain. Industrial switches are usually installed in a space-constrained cabinet, but with the help of DIN-rail mounting, the wiring in the cabinet will become clearer. And the installation is quite easy: just clamp the back of the industrial switch to the rail, and it’s all done. And wall mounting also gives you a quick, easy option to install the switch in outdoor applications.

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