An industrial Ethernet switch is a type of network switch designed to operate in harsh industrial environments. Oil rigs, railways, manufacturing plants, and similar applications require industrial-grade network equipment that can tolerate an extended range of temperature, humidity, vibration, electrical noise, and physical contamination (oil, water sprays).
Industrial automation engineers have created industrial Ethernet switches by adapting Ethernet to accommodate the stringent, deterministic-network requirements of manufacturing automation environments and industrial networking solutions. Railway Ethernet Switches are a type of industrial network switch designed to meet parts of the EN 50155 railway-industry standard.
Types of Industrial Ethernet Switches include:
- Unmanaged switches
- Managed switches
- PoE switches
- Rackmount switches
- Railway Ethernet switches
- Hazardous Area Ethernet switches
An Industrial Ethernet switch is sometimes designed to be mounted on a DIN rail—a widely used standard metal rail used to mount control equipment in industrial networking solutions. So, you may also see the term DIN-rail Ethernet switch, or simply DIN-rail switch. DIN refers to the German standards body, Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN), which published the original specifications since adopted as European (EN) and international (IEC) standard.
Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)
When Industrial Ethernet Switches interconnect devices that are also connected to the Internet, the technology is known as the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT may involve connecting highly-distributed physical objects to the internet for the purpose of collecting and exchanging data for monitoring and control. When the industrial network solution environment involves extreme temperatures or other harsh operating conditions (such as oil or water spray), the term is expanded as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIot) or sometimes IoT industrial solutions.