It is vital to consider deploying a Power over Ethernet (PoE) industrial switch for harsh working environments such as electric power, transportation, construction, etc. This article discusses the significant factors to consider when contemplating using a PoE industrial switch.
Industrial PoE Switches are Easy to Install
PoE technology enables a single Ethernet cable to transmit power and data simultaneously. Industrial PoE switches are built to work in complex environments. These switches are specially designed to be compact and easy to install. In addition, industrial PoE switches provide flexible mounting options: DIN-rail, wall mount, and rack mount.
Industrial PoE Switches are Easy to Manage and Maintain
Industrial PoE switches come in two management versions: unmanaged and managed. Unmanaged industrial PoE switches are commonly used for low-priority networks for which they are a perfectly suitable, low-cost solution. These switches have one purpose only: to connect network devices in harsh environments so they can communicate.
Although managed Industrial PoE switches are pricey, they are an optimal choice as harsh environments are particularly vulnerable. Managed PoE switches have a bevy of advanced network management features, which include:
- Traffic filtering
- A clear visual of network topology
- Streamlined monitoring
- Troubleshooting capabilities
- Cable diagnostics
- Network maintenance capabilities
- Network security
Industrial PoE Switches are Durable
Factory floors generate high temperatures and produce lots of dust. Outdoor equipment is vulnerable to rain, ice, snow, and corrosion. These challenges place high demands on PoE switches located in these harsh environments. As a result, industrial PoE switches have features that include:
- IP/IP40 aluminum casings
- An ability to function in extreme temperatures ( -40° to 75°C)
- High protection from electromagnetic frequencies
- High protection against lightning strikes and power surges
- Dual redundancy inputs to guard against equipment failure caused by power failures
Industrial PoE Switches are Reliable
Obviously, any equipment deployed in a harsh environment must be super reliable. To begin with, POE relies on Ethernet, which is a well-known and trusted technology. In addition, when seeking reliability, look for industrial PoE switches that feature Ethernet Ring Protection Switching (ERPS). ERPS is often used in the following industrial scenarios:
- Automated factories
- Waste management
Also, make sure your industrial PoE switch has Spanning Tree Protocol (STP)—802.1s MSTP, in particular. STP helps prevent bridge looping within the local area network (LAN).
Industrial PoE Switches Have Real-Time Data Transmission
When choosing an industrial PoE switch, it is vital to ensure strong traffic control capabilities. Look for advanced features such as:
- Quality of Service (QoS), which prioritizes data flow according to its importance
- Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) snooping, which optimizes multimedia traffic delivery
- Virtual Local Area Networks (VLANs), which enable a switch to group devices and isolate traffic between said groups
A Brief Word About PoE Compatibility
Harsh environments deploy an array of PoE devices that are compatible with differing standards. For instance, some PoE devices such as IP phones, wireless access points (WAPs), and IP cameras use the IEEE 802.3af standard of 15.4 watts, while others require the IEEE 802.3at standard of 30 watts. Therefore, it is crucial that the industrial PoE switch chosen be IEEE 802.3at and 802.3at compliant.
The industrial PoE switch is being used more and more widely every day. These sophisticated “hardened” switches are hands down the best choice for inhospitable environments. And PoE technology itself just makes sense as it is an easily installed, cost-effective, flexible, safe, scalable, and reliable solution.