Networking safety, uptime and control should be key factors in selecting networking cabling and hardware components such as switches and routers. 'Industry' is a broad term encompassing a multitude of diverse operations — from discrete manufacturing of every kind, to processing of foods and beverages, pulp and paper, chemicals, oil/gas and petrochemicals, to commercial and government sites such as power generation plants, wind energy farms, water and wastewater treatment facilities, airports and transportation hubs, military bases, ships and shipyards, rail yards, tunnels, dams and bridges.

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Networks in all of these operations must perform in extreme and often hazardous environments and every operation has its own set of environmental challenges to contend with. Analysts report that an overwhelming percentage of unplanned downtime in industrial operations can be attributed to network infrastructure failure. According to one network management report, fully 72 percent of network faults can be attributed to failure at the OSI (Open SystemsInterconnection) Layer 1 (Physical Media), Layer 2 (Data Link) and/or Layer 3 (Network).

Untimely and costly disruptions can largely be prevented by installation of a robust network infrastructure utilizing environmentally hardened, industrial-grade components in all three OSI layers. A ruggedly designed framework enables industrial enterprises to carry out their mission-critical functions by providing the highest possible levels of safety, uptime, and control. Full safety demands fail-save reliability and redundancy of data transmissions, as well as network components that meet and exceed industrial requirements for potentially hazardous environments.

Whether an operation involves a discrete manufacturing facility, a processing plant or an infrastructure site, such as an airport or power generation plant, keeping operations running smoothly and reliably assures optimum uptime andpeace of mind. Continuous monitoring, management and control, as well as operational efficiency, require continuity in data transmission and network availability. Any network failure, and subsequent downtime, can result in severe and extremely costly consequences.

Industrial plants rely heavily on their automation, instrumentation and control data communications to relay signals between devices, machinery and the control system to activate events on an exacting and pre-determined schedule, with little or no margin for error. Many industrial facilities are sizeable and their networking products must meet or exceed stringent industrial regulations and ratings. Users also desire optimal manageability and security so that network availability attains 99.999% uptime or better.

What are your thoughts on hardened networking equipment?

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