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Ethernet switches offer redundancy with zero switchover time

13 March 2012

Belden has extended its Hirschmann product program to include Ethernet switches from the new RSP family.

These are especially designed for use in the field-level networks of power supply companies, but they also can be used in any situation where uninterrupted communication is required, for instance for mechanical engineering projects or drives for production facilities.

These extremely robust fanless switches have eleven ports, three of which can be used for SFP transceivers. These support Fast (100 BASE-FX) or – optionally – Gigabit Ethernet (100/1000 BASE-FX). The remaining eight ports can be used either for 100 BASE-TX or as a combination of four SFP transceivers and four TX ports.

Additional features of these switches include comprehensive management, diagnostic and filter functions plus a variety of redundancy methods and markedly expanded security mechanisms. In addition to the standard configuration, Hirschmann™ also offers a version that supports highly precise synchronization compliant with IEEE 1588v2, plus PRP (Parallel Redundancy Protocol) and HSR (High-availability Seamless Redundancy). This means that, for the first time, it is now possible to implement networks that guarantee uninterrupted data communications with the attached systems and can thus – in the case of the electricity supply industry – guarantee reliable power supplies to end customers at all times.

These switches, which comply with the standards and approvals of IEC 61850 3, IEEE 1613, EN 50121 4, NEMA TS2 and cUL 508, are remarkable for their high vibration resistance and extensive resilience to magnetic fields and electrostatic discharges, and can also withstand ambient temperatures in the range 40°C to +70°C. The supply voltage may be either 24/48 V DC or 60/120/250 V DC and 110/230 V AC.

Redundancy methods such as PRP, HSR and PRP/HSR Redundancy Box, RSTP, MRP and Fast MRP ensure a high level of network availability. The supported security mechanisms include authentication, radius, role based access, port security, SSHv2; HTTPS and SFTP. The switch status can be monitored locally using indicator contacts while detailed information can be displayed via a standard web browser. The integrated SNMP interface offers an additional centralized management function that makes it possible to use network management software such as Industrial HiVision.

The switches are mounted on DIN rails and feature sturdy, compact stainless steel housings measuring 100 x 164 x 116 mm (width x height x depth). They can easily be activated by plug and play. Configuration and diagnostics can be carried out with HiDiscovery, Industrial HiVision or via a web interface. A SD card offers comprehensive logging and can be used for, fast device replacement. The SD card stores not only the switch configuration but also the operating software which allows an automatic upgrade or downgrade of the operating system.

With its new RSP family of Hirschmann™ Ethernet switches Belden is expanding Ethernet to cover the field-level networks of electricity supply companies. At the same time the company is the world’s first manufacturer to offer switches with integrated PRP and HSR redundancy protocols. As Product Manager Jürgen Schmid says: “A modern IT infrastructure not only offers manifold possibilities, it also involves a number of risks, from broken wires to hacker attacks. These new Hirschmann™ RSP switches give users maximum security and thus uninterrupted access to their applications’ data communications.”

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