When it comes to network cable, connectivity and equipment, industrial environments are not to be confused with commercial enterprise environments. With the increased adoption of Internet protocol and Ethernet for industrial networking, it makes sense to have the right components for the job. Hardened cable, connectors and switches and routers that are specifically designed for industrial applications provide reliable, cost-effective automation solutions.
The main difference between commercial enterprise and industrial environments is that industrial communications systems need to operate reliably for a long period of time in harsh environments, including extreme temperatures, electromagnetic interference (EMI), vibration, dirt, moisture and corrosion. It is important that operations personnel purchase switches or routers specifically designed to do an industrial job. While traditional commercial solutions are ideal for typical enterprise applications, they may not necessarily be designed to withstand certain severe conditions. Fortunately, the development of components for industrial applications has yielded impressive results in the past 25 years. Having the appropriate hardware and software to meet the needs of these harsh mission-critical applications has led to highly effective industrial networking that offers scalability, high capacity and robustness.
Dependable end-to-end network connectivity is so important in industrial applications that shut downs for any reason can cost upwards of $1000 per minute—further making the case for reliable industrial-grade equipment. According to research from Growthpoint Technology Partners, 72 percent of network faults can be attributed to failures in Layer 1 (Physical Media), Layer 2 (Data Link) and Layer 3 (Network) of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model.
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