The motherboard of a GarrettCom Magnum 6K Series managed switch with conformal coating and special heat sinks is designed to support convection cooling. Both features are important when installing switches in dusty, corrosive, or damp environments. Source: GarrettCom Inc.
Jim makes an important point about the lack of interchangeability between commercial routers and switches and industrial ones. The same thing goes for PCs--perhaps even more so. This article talks about hardening mainly in terms of physical hardening -- resistance to temperature extremes and use of conformal coating as protection. The other aspect is that commerical PCs and network gear have subtle differences from model to model, or even in the same generation. This makes the kind of swapping out that's done in the commercial world much more difficult to get away with in industrial settings, where the gear has to work and be up 100%, without having to constantly send in an IT person to tweak settings and diagnose problems.
The switch may be industrial, but as I commented in the Ethernet in the car article, the connectors are NOT. RJ45 does not belong in industrial settings; it's time for a new robust connector. M12 Code D might be it. Maybe M8 for higher connector densities?
There are a number of vendors out there that make what they might call industrial strength Ethernet devices. There is still room for improvement beyond simple temperature and vibration specs. I would like to see something with an IP-67 rating, for instance, so you don't need to enclose everything.
(TJ, I just added a comment to the auto article as well adressing the plastic tab connector concern).
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
Microchip recently released the 3D TouchPad, the first USB PC Peripheral device that couples 2D multi-touch input with 3D air gesture technology. The company seeks the help of developers to further enhance the capabilities of the technology.
To give engineers a better idea of the range of resins and polymers available as alternatives to other materials, this Technology Roundup presents several articles on engineering plastics that can do the job.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.