Exclusive: Smart switch for critical applications

EKI-6538 smart switch from Advantech is intended for mission-critical plant-floor applications.

By Control Engineering Staff September 18, 2006

EKI-6538 smart industrial Ethernet switch from Advantech is said to provide many of the features of a managed switch features at the cost of an unmanaged one.

EKI-6538 smart switch from Advantech is intended for mission-critical plant-floor applications. Said to have many features of a managed switch at a price comparable to an unmanaged one, the device is equipped with eight 10/100Base-TX Ethernet ports to allow users to implement Ethernet packet switching with the control of network performance and security parameters.

Standard features include wide dual power input (10 to 48 V dc), operating temperature from 0 to 60 ?C, rugged design, and multiple mounting options. Switch also reportedly provides efficient network traffic management, diagnostics, and monitoring, virtual LAN segmentation, and security enhancements that make it smarter than unmanaged switches.

QoS function ensures consistent and predictable data delivery. EKI Series supports Layer-2 802.1p Priority Queue control to prioritize network packets. Data priority classifications can be based on a Priority Queue packet. Port trunking function combines the bandwidth of multiple ports to create multi-link load sharing and aggregated bandwidths to a server or network backbone.

Diagnostic pushbutton and LED indicators on the front panel simplify troubleshooting. Other diagnostic tools and debugging features that help monitor and control switch performance include determining which port has failed, link condition, transmission rate, and power status. Port mirroring can be managed locally or remotely. Traffic flow control includes ingress/egress rate control per port, traffic statistics per port, and broadcast storm protection.

User can configure two digital inputs and two digital outputs through simple Web configuration. Switch errors can be aggregated into digital signals that drive alarm annunciation equipment in the field. EKI-6538 costs $395.