Ethernet Switch Showdown: Commercial vs. Industrial

August 10, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

An Ethernet switch is a great way to create a Local Area Network (LAN) to share resources. Ethernet switch LANs can allow an entire office to share the use of printers, servers, Internet connections and other Internet Protocol (IP)-based applications.

 

For decades, Ethernet switches were limited to climate-controlled IT closets and buildings for use in commercial and office networks. In recent years, their use has expanded to include Ethernet-based industrial IP networks for manufacturing, automation and process industries.

 

Here, we’ll look at the major features of commercial and industrial switches and how they differ from one another.

 

Commercial Ethernet Switches:

  • •   Designed for desk or rack mounting in controlled environments such as IT closets        and data centers
  • •   110V-240V AC powered
  • •   Limited operating temperature range, typically between 50° F to 95°F
  • •   Cannot withstand shock and vibration
  • •   Single Point of Failure (SPOF): many commercial grade switches depend on               cooling fans and other components that can compromise the entire switch if they         fail 
  • •   Most have lower Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) than industrial switches

 

Industrial Ethernet Switches:   

  • •  Designed for harsh environments with extreme temperatures, vibration, dust and        moisture
  • •  Typically used in manufacturing facilities, mining, oil production, power plants,            waste water treatment plants and other extreme environments
  • •  Usually do not have any moving parts, such as fans (SPOF)
  • •  Conformal coating used in damp environments to cover PCB and protect                    components
  • •  Wide operating temperature range, typically from -40° F to 167°F
  • •  DIN rail mounting and small form factor allows switches to take up minimal space
  • •  Safety Extra-Low Voltage (SELV): accepting 24 V DC power makes industrial switches safer than higher powered switches
  • •  Many have an Ingress protection (IP) rating which allows the switches to resist dirt, dust and wash down
 
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