Fieldbus / Industrial Ethernet

Industrial Ethernet for the Price of COTS

ProView Supports Modbus/TCP and SNMP Protocols, and Offer Industrial-Grade Reliability

By Control Global Staff

Engineers installing Ethernet on a budget in industrial environments traditionally face a devil's choice: Buy unmanaged industrial switches and live with their limitations, or risk using commercial switches to gain the advantages of software-based network management. New ProView industrial Ethernet switches by Advantech are designed to solve that dilemma by offering the critical features of a managed switch as a cost-effective solution.

IT professionals prize managed devices because with them, they can use a network management system (NMS) to monitor and troubleshoot health and traffic from the comfort of their air-conditioned offices. Control engineers have prioritized industrial ruggedness, immunity to electromagnetic interference and long life, and they want to avoid the frequent failures and version changes common with commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) technology. Engineers are learning that they, too, can benefit from the information access provided by managed devices, but a managed industrial switch may cost three to five times as much as its no-frills or COTS alternatives, potentially breaking the budget and putting a project out of reach.

"The smart, strong and simple ProView series industrial Ethernet switches not only offer the advanced efficiency of networking status management, but also provide simplified troubleshooting for users in the field," says Ken Kao, product sales manager, iConnectivity Group, Advantech. "They support Modbus/TCP and SNMP protocols, and offer industrial-grade reliability with a wide operating temperature range, power-saving technology and UL508/C1D2 certification. The control engineer and IT manager can use ProView switches to converge process control and IT into one networking domain, and monitor the real-time networking status with both SCADA and NMS software."

The switches offer a VIP port that allows engineers to design deterministic Ethernet communications. The VIP port can prioritize the data traffic for process control by tightening delay/jitter times. "For example, an administrator could set I/O scanning traffic at the VIP port as higher priority than other application traffic—HMI, computing, etc.," Kao says. "When the switch receives traffic from the VIP port, the I/O scanning data will be sent out ahead of other traffic—even if it has been received after the other traffic—through prioritization applied by the VIP port."

Energy-efficient Ethernet (IEEE802.3az) automatically adjusts the system power consumption based on port connection status and data transmission distance. "That can save up to 50%, reducing the electrical bill a lot in a 24/7 operation," Kao says.

The fanless design, wide range of operating temperatures (-40 °C to 75 °C) and industrial certification (C1D2, UL508) promise true industrial-grade reliability for process, discrete and machine environments.

Machinery OEMs can use these cost-effective and  manageable industrial switches to bring I/O and network status into an embedded PC for monitoring and remote access. "An industrial managed switch can cost $500 or more," says Kao. "However, the ProView starts at around $100."

Switches are available in more than 30 SKUs from Fast Ethernet to Gigabit Ethernet, and in a multiple range of different port combinations with DIN-rail or wall-mount kits and Advantech's EKI configuration utility. Advantech's ProView industrial Ethernet switches also carry a five-year warranty.

For more information, visit www.advantech.com/intelligent-connectivity.