Due to the ever-evolving technology, the demand for cost-efficient, robust, and compact solutions remains an important goal of industrial connectivity. Ethernet switches offer connectivity amongst industrial devices, however, each device connected to the network is generally powered separately and hence the power consumption increases and the network gets bulkier, therefore, industries look for a compact and comprehensive solution such as industrial Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches. The industrial PoE switch consists of an Ethernet cable that is capable of transmitting electrical power as well as data to a connected network of devices. Industrial PoE switches have an advantage, especially in industrial environments where devices that are connected to a network do not need a separate power supply, they can be powered using the ports available in the PoE switch through an Ethernet cable. Industrial PoE switches differ from commonly available commercial PoE switches in terms of their usage in harsh industrial environments and are often termed “Hardened PoE Switches” due to their ruggedness.
How Do Industrial PoE Switches Work?
As industrial PoE switches work on supplying power and data transmission over a single ethernet cable, there are several techniques that are utilized to transfer power over an Ethernet cable as defined by IEEE standards. Under these standards, certain parameters are established, such as the maximum power that can be transferred over the ethernet cable, the maximum voltage and current that the cable can bear, and the maximum length of the cable in the network for it to function properly. In general, PoE devices consist of two types;
1. Power Sourcing Equipment (PSE)
2. Powered Device (PD)
Power Sourcing Equipment (PSE) is the equipment that supplies power to the network devices. These are typically PoE switches responsible for supplying power to the devices. Powered Device (PD) is the network device that receives the power over the Ethernet cable, these are devices such as IP cameras, wireless access points, etc.
Before establishing a connection to the devices on the network, PSE sends a standard voltage signal to assess whether the devices are PoE enabled or not. PD sends the signal back which contains its unique signature which is the resistance across the device, this process is known as resistive power discovery. The internal resistance of the powered device needs to be within a certain limit to be detected by the PSE and if the received resistance is beyond the specified limit, PSE will not recognize the device and consequently, power will not be supplied. The aforementioned signaling process is defined under the IEEE 802.3.af standard. The power required by the PD is assessed using this standard, the maximum power that PSE can supply and PD can receive is defined.
Features of Industrial PoE Switches
1. Harsh Industrial Environment Operation
Industrial PoE switches are often referred to as hardened PoE switches for the reason that they are designed to withstand harsh and rugged environments of different kinds of industries. Industrial PoE switches are capable of handling harsh environments of industries which include, dirt, extreme temperature fluctuations, and excessive exposure to moisture. Typically, PoE industrial switches are manufactured to bear excessively heated environments and operate within the temperature range of -40°C to as high as 75°C. These hardened PoE switches provide resistance against such harsh environments and are vibration-resistant as well as shock-resistant. Some of the industries where industrial PoE switches are utilized are;
• Oil & Gas Industry • Food & Beverage • Marine Sites • Wastewater Treatment Plants • Cement Factories • Industrial Automation Systems
2. Redundant Design
Generally, industries that focus on running their processes in an uninterrupted manner due to the nature of their product tend to prefer a system with a very high up-time in order to avoid shutdowns. This is where the industrial PoE switches play an important role by maintaining redundancy of the devices connected to the network, the downtime is effectively decreased ensuring near to no interruption of plant processes. The architecture of PoE switches provides power redundancy in case of failure of the main power supply, the backup power supply can be utilized to maintain a stable and reliable operation of the system.
3. Safety of the System
Industrial PoE switches ensure the safe operation of their system by an automated way to detect the power and current that is needed to be supplied. It protects against any power surge and stops the power supply to its ports when no device is connected to it, hence ensuring no power-related hazards occur.
Unmanaged PoE Switch Vs Managed PoE Switch
Unmanaged PoE switches offer their connected devices to communicate and interact with one another in their most basic form. It offers a simple plug-and-play operation for connected devices without any need for the network administrator. It is used in small networks with less complexity and is low-cost with the basic security of the network. Managed PoE switches on the other hand provide holistic functionality and control over the network. It can be configured to manage and monitor the connected devices in the network allowing control over devices through the network administrator. It is relatively expensive and used in industries where devices are connected to each other in a large complex manner. It offers redundancy features and data backup along with enhanced security.
Industrial PoE switches are designed for harsh and rugged environments with effective operational capabilities of function in fluctuating temperature, vibrations, moisture, and dirt. Due to its capability of providing power over the Ethernet cable, it significantly reduces the need for extra cabling used to power the devices connected to the network, hence saving additional cost and space for industries where the devices have to be powered separately.
How Can We Help?
Antaira Technologies is a leading developer and manufacturer that provides high-quality industrial networking and communication product solutions. Since 2005, Antaira has offered a full spectrum of product lines that feature reliable Ethernet infrastructures, extended temperature tolerance, and rugged enclosure designs. Antaira offers a variety of industrial PoE switches that reliably deliver both power and network connectivity in adverse weather and environmental conditions.