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As industrial Ethernet networks grow in number and importance, keeping the right traffic on and off the network becomes essential
The use of Ethernet for industrial automation has grown dramatically. One of the main benefits of moving from legacy fieldbus to Ethernet is the ability to connect the front office to the manufacturing system. This is possible because Ethernet is not a proprietary communication protocol. The non-proprietary nature of Ethernet allows engineers to mix and match equipment from different vendors and get competitive bids. This combination of better office-factory communication and open standards helped industrial Ethernet gain recent widespread acceptance.
But with these benefits come potential problems. As networks and the services they provide evolve and servers or user machines are replaced and upgraded, the likelihood of passing unwanted, often obsolete protocols within the network increases.
Potentially more challenging is the existence of unknown protocols that may degrade the performance of the network. Unknown protocols are often caused by well-intended but uninformed employees who attach unauthorized devices, such as wireless access points, to the network. They can also be caused by traffic such as streaming audio from employees listening to Internet radio stations while working.
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