Industrial Ethernet switches are a crucial part of data transmission and communication networks. The Ethernet network switches are ideally used in the high-capacity industrial networks for controlled transmission. In industrial applications like factory automation networks, business communication, security and surveillance networks, etc the Ethernet switches, are of great significance. Also, several industries adopt serial to Ethernet networks where the Ethernet switches and serial communication devices are of the same significance. Despite the advanced capabilities of industrial Ethernet switches, there are several industrial Ethernet switches challenges for future applications that are foreseen by industry experts. The challenges foreseen are certainly due to rapidly evolving technologies and demanding industrial Ethernet networks. That is why futureproofing the industrial Ethernet switches have become a necessity for network managers. However, without knowing the challenges, it is not possible to futureproof the Ethernet switches. This is why this post discusses industrial Ethernet switches challenges that may be faced in the future.
5 Significant Industrial Ethernet Switches Challenges Foreseen in Long-Term Future
Technology is constantly evolving. The factors like high-speed transmission, bulk data transmission, changing industrial environment, etc. may impact the future performance of the industrial Ethernet switches. This may pose industrial Ethernet switches challenges in the future. The following are five challenges that may affect the performance of industrial Ethernet switches in the future.
On-Field Industrial Environmental Conditions:
Industrial networks are being expanded to indoor and outdoor applications. Unlike earlier days, the industrial networks are not limited to communication devices but now the networks are integrated for mechanical automation, signal processing in a factory environment, etc. That is why multiple environmental conditions may pose a challenge to the operation of industrial Ethernet switches. The following are a few industrial Ethernet switches challenges induced by environmental factors.
- Electrostatic discharge due to high-voltage power transmission
- Electrical surge or fast transient due to high power consumption and low tolerance to surge
- Interference in transmission due to electromagnetic radiations
- Shocks and vibrations may cause damage to the transmission lines and ports in the Ethernet switches
- Extremely high or cryogenic temperatures can cause performance errors in Ethernet switches
- Factors like humidity, chemical exposure, etc may cause the abrupt failure of the switches
Increasing Use of Bandwidth Hungry Devices:
The bandwidth requirements are increasing in modern high-capacity networks. Currently, the data is transmitted at a Fast Ethernet speed. In high-capacity networks, nearly 100 megabits of data are transmitted through the networks at a time. This rate of transmission may differ in the future which can pose a challenge in sustaining bandwidth requirements. If the bandwidth lacks, the challenges like data traffic can be faced by the Ethernet switches. Based on the bandwidth and transmission rate, matching the routing and switching capacity of Ethernet switches can be challenging.
Network Redundancy and Immediate Recovery:
Several industrial Ethernet or serial to Ethernet network connections are complex and are designed for result-centric performance. However, if any device in the network fails, the performance of each transmission link in the network may suffer. Therefore, the network switches with higher redundancy and immediate recovery will be required to secure high-capacity networks in the future. In near future, integrating network switches with sub-20 milliseconds to sub-50 milliseconds of recovery time can be challenging.
Stringent Need for Security:
Industrial networks are exposed to threats like unauthorized intrusion and data theft. In the future, the risk of higher data loss is possible in high-capacity networks if advanced security protocols are not followed. Implementation of virtual private networks (VPNs) with firewalls, access control list (ACL), data encryption, port-wise user access, etc will be required in networks. Implementing all such features can be challenging in the future.
Manageability of High Capacity and Multilayer Networking:
The complexity of Ethernet networks is increasing due to the demanding transmission capacity. High-capacity networks are often developed in different topologies or hierarchies. Such networks comprise core layers, distribution layers, and access layers. However, as the transmission requirements increase, the number of layers increases too. For such large-scale ethernet networks management, the manageability of the Ethernet switches can be challenging. If a switch fails to route, switch and distribute data in the compatibility of complex designs and operations, then managing networking activities can be challenging.
Now that all the possible challenges for industrial Ethernet switches are discussed, the futureproofing of such switches can be easy. However, without high quality and top-notch performance parameters, it can be difficult to secure the industrial Ethernet switches and therefore the networks. That is why you should invest in high-quality network switches from reliable manufacturers and suppliers.