10 Factors when deciding between Industrial and Consumer Networking Devices

[fa icon='calendar'] Oct 20, 2011 11:34:50 AM / by Jonathan Witthoeft posted in commercial, Consumer, General, Industrial, Industrial Switch, Industrial Switches, Routers, Switches, White Papers

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1.  Protection against solid foreign objects

What solid foreign objects are a part of your operational atmosphere?  Will your device need to be dust tight, protected against wires, or not protected at all?  If maintenance is not an option due to distance or inaccessibility, then you might need to consider what objects can find their way into your devices enclosure.

2.  Protection against water

This is very important in an outdoor application.  You want your device to be able to withstand rain.  Also what if you need your device to be submerged in water, or need to be able to hose down the device when cleaning an industrial area?  These are all conditions that need to be considered when determining which device to go with.

3.  Protection against oil, coolant, and corrosive agents

Hazardous materials can limit the range of products applicable for use.  Without a doubt, you need to have an industrial product for protection against oil, coolant, and other corrosive agents that might be in that operational atmosphere.

4.  Temperature range

There are typically two temperature ranges to consider in the specifications of a product: operational temperature and storage temperature.  Industrial products tend to have wider ranges for both of these.  If you need to store or use a device in an extreme temperature, you would want to use an industrial device.

5.  Durability

Some applications require a tolerance for impact or fast motion.  Some tests that are done on industrial devices include stationary vibration, shock, and vertical free-fall.  Some devices are also given an impact rating from 0 to 20.0 Joules.

6.  Surge protection

Surge protection ratings specify the protection level electrical devices have from voltage spikes.  In certain conditions components need to be able to withstand large spikes in voltage.  Industrial devices tend to have a higher range of tolerable AC and DC voltage spikes.

7.  Electromagnetic response

In many applications multiple electronics are in the same confined area.  Some of which might have motors, or other components that create EMF.  It is important, in this case, that your device can tolerate different electromagnetic conditions.  Industrial devices have higher electromagnetic resistance than consumer devices.

8.  Power supply

Consumer products are usually powered with a wall plug.  Industrial products are often powered in parallel to each other.  They share power supplies, rather than having a dedicated power supply for each unit.  Some have redundant power inputs that are used with redundant power supplies.

9.  Enclosure mounting

Many consumer devices are designed to be set on a desk or other flat surface and do not include any mounting options.  Industrial products include mounting options such as DIN Rail Mounting and Panel Mounting.

10.  Longevity

Most industrial products in an industrial application would be functional approximately 3 to 5 times longer than a consumer device in normal IT application.

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Routers and Switches and Hubs…Oh My!

[fa icon='calendar'] Sep 12, 2011 6:04:32 PM / by Jonathan Witthoeft posted in General, Hubs, Industrial Switch, Industrial Switches, Products, Routers, Switches

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EKI-2728-BE Industrial Gigabit Switch 8 Port Industrial Gigabit Switch

Hubs, switches, and routers are all the same in the sense of connecting network devices with each other at one of three speeds.  Most devices are capable of both 10Mbs and 100Mbs and will automatically detect the speed.  If the device is only capable with one speed then it will only be able to communicate with switches that also support that speed.  Gigabit devices (1Gbs) are starting to slowly become more common as well.  Gigabit switches, e.g. our GC-EKI-2728-BE, can be used with these devices to utilize that faster speed.

Speed aside, there are still key differences between routers, switches, and hubs that many people are confused about.  I often see people misusing these titles and would like to clear this up.  I will start with the least complicated.

A Hub is the cheapest option of the three.  They are not intelligent and they simply forward all communication that is received on one port out to all of the remaining ports.  All of the devices connected to a hub can see all of the data sent through it.  The hub does nothing with the data being transmitted.  Hubs are great in small networks without a lot of traffic.

ATC 405 Industrial Managed Switch 5 Port Industrial Managed Switch

A Switch does a little more.  A switch is intelligent.  Switches recognize what devices are on what ports by analyzing that ports traffic.  It is able to determine which particular addresses are associated with which particular ports.  For example, if it sees traffic from my PC coming in on port 1, it will send all traffic for my PC to port 1 and not any of the other ports.  With switches, most of the network traffic only goes where it needs to rather than to every port.  On larger, busy networks this will increase the network speed.  Managed switches, like our GC-ATC-405, have their own IP address and have configurable options such as directing traffic to certain ports or ignoring traffic of a certain protocol.

A Router is the most intelligent of the three. A router is a Layer 3 gateway, which means it operates at the network layer of the OSI model.  It routes traffic from one network to another.  It has the same functionality as a switch and a hub, but also does much more.  A router is programmed to understand, possibly manipulate, and route the data it’s given.    Most routers include the ability to hide devices behind a firewall as well as all of the functionality found in a managed switch.  With the use of a routing table, routers have the ability to filter traffic, either incoming or outgoing, based on the IP addresses of senders and receivers.  The entire configuration is done through some kind of user interface, e.g., a web page.

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