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How should I choose an industrial grade Ethernet switch?
Jun 05 , 2024 401

In modern industrial automation, Industrial Ethernet Switches (IES) have become a key component. Correctly selecting the right industrial grade switch is crucial to ensure the stability and reliability of the system. Among the many hardware equipment brands, Cisco and Huawei, the industry leaders, have made their industrial switches the first choice for many organizations.

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Known for its high performance and reliability, Cisco switches offer a wide range of product lines for enterprises and are suitable for a variety of industrial environments. Huawei switches have strong R&D capabilities in the field of communications equipment, and their industrial-grade switches excel in performance and stability.

If branding aside, what are some of the things you need to look for in choosing the right switch?

In terms of performance metrics, when choosing an industrial Ethernet switch, we should first consider whether its transmission speed is realistic (e.g. 100 Mbps, 1 Gbps or 10 Gbps). For most industrial applications, Gigabit Ethernet (1 Gbps) is sufficient, but for high data volume transmission scenarios, 10 Gbps may be required.

Secondly, choosing the port and type is also crucial. We can choose the right number and type of ports (e.g. RJ45, SFP, etc.) according to the device connection requirements. When choosing ports and types, special attention needs to be paid to the support of fiber optic ports, especially when long distance transmission is required.

Also, pay attention to backplane bandwidth and latency jitter. Whether the backplane bandwidth can support all ports at full capacity to avoid network bottlenecks. In real-time control systems, choosing low latency and jitter is a key factor in ensuring system stability.

In conclusion, industrial grade switches are significantly different from commercial switches in terms of design and functionality, and we also need to pay attention to the following features during the selection process:

Durability: Industrial-grade switches are typically built with ruggedized enclosures that are resistant to physical shock, vibration, and electromagnetic interference.

Temperature Range: Supports wide temperature range (e.g. -40°C to +75°C) to ensure normal operation under extreme temperature conditions.

Redundant Design: Supports redundant power supplies and redundant ring protocols (e.g. RSTP, MRP) to improve network reliability and fault tolerance.

Protection level: High protection level (e.g. IP30, IP40 or higher) to prevent dust and moisture intrusion.

Power Input: Supports a variety of power input methods (e.g., DC and AC) and can withstand power fluctuations.

So, from the two leading brands, Cisco and Huawei, what models are suitable for industrial network environments?


Cisco IE 2000 Series

Features: For basic industrial Ethernet needs, offering a compact and rugged design.

Port Configuration: Typically offers 4 to 20 Fast Ethernet ports, with some models supporting Gigabit Ethernet.

Redundancy features: Supports Fast Ethernet Ring Protocol (REP) for improved network redundancy and resiliency.

Temperature range: -40°C to 75°C for harsh environments.

Certifications: Certified to several industry standards, such as UL508, Class 1 Div 2, ATEX, etc.

Huawei S5735I-H8T4S2XN-V2

Features: Compact design for basic industrial networking needs.

Port Configuration: Provides 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 2 SFP fiber ports.

Redundancy features: Supports redundancy protocols such as STP, RSTP, and MSTP to enhance network reliability.

Temperature range: -40°C to 70°C.

Certification: Conforms to industrial standards for harsh environments


Cisco IE 4000 Series

Features: For medium- to high-demand industrial networking environments, providing increased performance and flexibility.

Port Configuration: Provides 10 to 20 Gigabit Ethernet ports and supports multiple SFP slots.

Redundancy features: Supports multiple redundancy protocols (e.g., STP, RSTP, MSTP, REP) to ensure high network availability.

Temperature range: -40°C to 75°C.

Security: Integrates a variety of network security features such as access control lists (ACLs), 802.1x authentication, and multi-layer security protection

Huawei S5735I-H24U8S4XE-QA-V2

Features: Mid-range industrial switch for medium-sized industrial networks.

Port Configuration: Provides 8 to 24 Gigabit Ethernet ports, with some models supporting PoE.

Redundancy features: Supports ERPS (Ethernet Ring Protection Protocol) to ensure fast network recovery.

Temperature range: -40°C to 70°C.

Security: Supports multiple security protocols and firewall features to ensure network security.


Cisco IE 5000 Series

Features: For industrial environments requiring extreme performance and scalability.

Port Configuration: Provides up to 24 Gigabit Ethernet ports and four 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports.

Redundancy features: Supports advanced redundancy protocols and high bandwidth requirements for large network deployments.

Temperature range: -40°C to 75°C.

Scalability: Supports modular expansion, enabling flexible configurations as needed.

Huawei S57351-H24U8S4XE-QA-V2

Features: High-performance industrial switch for complex and large-scale industrial networks.

Port Configuration: Provides up to 24 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 4 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports.

Redundancy Features: Supports advanced redundancy protocols and virtual switching system (iStack). Provides high availability and reliability.

Temperature range: -40°C to 75°C.

Scalability: Supports modular design for flexible expansion to meet future needs.

Overall, both Cisco and Huawei's industrial grade switches offer good performance and reliability for a variety of industrial environments. Cisco's IE series switches are known for their rugged design and rich redundancy features for basic to advanced industrial networking needs. Huawei's AR series switches, on the other hand, offer flexible configuration options and powerful security features, adapting to industrial application scenarios of different sizes and complexities.

When selecting a specific model, the most appropriate switch model should be chosen based on actual application requirements, such as network size, number of ports, redundancy and security requirements, and environmental conditions.

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