Ethernet Switches Built for Tidy Speed and Size

Rob Spiegel

March 19, 2015

3 Min Read
Ethernet Switches Built for Tidy Speed and Size

Belden has launched two managed Hirschmann Embedded Ethernet Switches. The EESX20 and EESX30 switches were designed to allow automation devices to be quickly and reliably equipped with Gigabit switch technology. With this option, equipment manufacturers can offer their customers additional network functionality.

The switches were designed for easy integration, saving space, and efficiency. "The switches are integrated into drives or machines. The main advantage is they take less space and volume. There is no additional box," Rolf-Dieter Sommer, product manager at Belden, told Design News. "The switching function comes inside the customer's device. This is important because it's embedded. It doesn't need additional power, since it's together with other functionality in one single box."

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The switches were created to be compact components that can be mounted on the main circuit board of automation devices with an Ethernet interface. Belden reduced the difficulty of the development process in an effort to improve time to market. The switches extend Belden's Embedded Ethernet product range, providing automation equipment with the functional scope of a managed standalone switch. Plus, all functions can be updated by software.

The switches also conform to IAAA international standards for communication. They plug-and-play with many devices. "Our laptops can be plugged into any outlet and can communicate," said Sommer. "IT has to do configuration to prevent someone from using it illegally, but there is no programming required. This is what makes the Ethernet so powerful."

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Belden targeted a number of industries for the switches. One is the automation systems for trains. "We have several of the switches in transportation, specifically trains. They need space, so they want to avoid adding boxes," said Sommer. "They want to integrate as much as they can to conserve space. They are also used by banks. That makes sense, since they want to integrate the switches while having fewer devices connected."

The switches come with eight Ethernet ports and two additional Gigabit uplinks. This enables automation devices to connect reliably to the network even during high data volume. Belden uses the industrial HiVision network software to extend management functions and allow for fast startup and system diagnostics.

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The switches were designed with fast redundancy procedures, as well as port and cyber security to extend maximum network availability. "These switches can prioritize communications, and that's important to users," said Sommer. "Several industries are taking advantage of this." He noted that the switches are being used in transportation, power management, and car manufacturing. "They don't care if the technology is stand-alone or integrated. They simply care about the IT functionality of the switches," he said.

An optional development kit is also available for the switches. Belden created the development kit to enable manufacturers to quickly and easily design products into their automation equipment.

Rob Spiegel has covered automation and control for 15 years, 12 of them for Design News. Other topics he has covered include supply chain technology, alternative energy, and cyber security. For 10 years he was owner and publisher of the food magazine, Chile Pepper.

About the Author(s)

Rob Spiegel

Rob Spiegel serves as a senior editor for Design News. He started with Design News in 2002 as a freelancer and hired on full-time in 2011. He covers automation, manufacturing, 3D printing, robotics, AI, and more.

Prior to Design News, he worked as a senior editor for Electronic News and Ecommerce Business. He has contributed to a wide range of industrial technology publications, including Automation World, Supply Chain Management Review, and Logistics Management. He is the author of six books.

Before covering technology, Rob spent 10 years as publisher and owner of Chile Pepper Magazine, a national consumer food publication.

As well as writing for Design News, Rob also participates in IME shows, webinars, and ebooks.

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