Is Office Ethernet Hardware Tough Enough for Industrial Use?

Considerations include operating temperature, humidity, operating voltage, redundancy, vibration, and more. See comparison table.


In selecting physical media, data links and industrial network hardware for industrial Ethernet, it is important to ensure optimal performance, ease of maintenance, and long-term reliability. Rugged industrial Ethernet products have been designed to network in tough environments, to support industrial protocols being transmitted across these networks, and accommodate industrial environments.

When specifying industrial-grade network components, consider reliability and risk-related issues, such as mean time between failure (MTBF).

Designs of industrial Ethernet products provide the same lifespan as other automation components—10 to 30 years or more. Typical commercial grade products are built to achieve a 5-year average lifespan.

Industrial Ethernet hardware devices are usually DIN-rail mounted or bolted directly onto the machines that receive transmitted data.

In addition, equipment typically occupies less space to allow greater density within a control panel.

Industrial Ethernet devices rely on passive heat dissipation and may be available in dustproof and waterproof housings.

Redundant power, redundant media paths and even redundant devices can help assure 24/7 uptime.

For more information, see the Belden whitepaper, “A Robust Industrial Ethernet Infrastructure...,“ available at

(Table courtesy of Belden; learn more at

Also read, from Control Engineering:

Mission critical Ethernet network design advice from Belden seminar;

Belden: Hirschmann Mach 1040 Gigabit Ethernet Switch for high network availability, safety; and

Hirschmann releases new line of industrial cyber security products.

- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering,

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