Gaining Network Speed

April 10, 2015
Rockwell Automation’s newest Allen-Bradley Stratix industrial switch is designed with faster throughput to support high-bandwidth applications and the emerging Internet of Things.

One way to modernize a manufacturing environment is to implement enterprise applications into the plant, such as IP video used for safety and surveillance. Another way to enhance operations is to increase the amount of intelligent devices across the industrial network in an effort to collect more critical data. The problem, however, is that piling on more things can create a network bottleneck.

With that in mind, Rockwell Automation has expanded its Allen-Bradley family of industrial switches with the addition of the Stratix 5400 switch, a flexible, all-gigabit design that offers faster network speeds in order to handle more high-bandwidth applications.

The product supports Layer 2 switching (the data link layer for moving data across physical links), which is ideal for industrial environments that need to support gigabit-speed end devices. It also benefits heavy-industry applications that require a resilient network. When used as a Layer 3 switch, routing is enabled between segmented networks, the company says.

The development of a faster industrial switch plays directly into the company’s Connected Enterprise theme—a convergence of information technology (IT) and operations technology (OT) to enable real-time decision-making in manufacturing.

“Network convergence, increased reliability, and the growing adoption of high-speed devices across the connected enterprise are driving the need for a higher-performing and more versatile industrial switch,” says Mark Devonshire, a Rockwell Automation product manager.

The Stratix 5400 switch is available in 18 different models and offers up to 20 gigabit ports in a single switch to meet a wide range of application needs. Default configurations help simplify setup, optimize performance, and enable faster diagnostics retrieval. And, it comes with Network Address Translation to reduce commissioning time, the company says.

Rockwell Automation is also working closely with Cisco on its industrial switches in an effort to arm customers with the tools necessary to accelerate their Internet of Things (IoT) deployments. To that end, the Stratix 5400 switch provides manufacturers with a robust architecture as network demands continue to broaden, Devonshire says.

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