The Truth About Industrial Switches - Read These Tips Before Buying

Nov 29,2023

The rapid evolution of emerging technologies such as 5G, cloud computing, and big data has spurred a significant surge in the demand for network equipment. Many communication equipment manufacturers contribute to the current state of the switch market, which can be aptly described as "chaotic". This abundance makes it challenging for individuals to discern between various switches in the market, specifically those claiming to be "industrial grade." There are dozens of articles claiming that if a switch supports wide-temperature operation and passes the EMI (electromagnetic interference) test, it essentially qualifies as an industrial network switch. Surprisingly, this criterion applies to a vast majority, approximately 90%, of switches available in the market. Thus, the question arises: how can one accurately identify genuine industrial-grade switches?

Industrial Network Switch Hardware Tips

Chipset of Industrial Network Switch

The Ethernet switching chipset of industrial switches determines the performance of industrial switches and works as the brain of industrial switches. The main function of an industrial switch is to provide high performance and low latency switching in subnets, and the switching core is the main component for high performance switching. At the same time, due to the large number of nodes deployed in industrial networking, industrial switches are required to have lower power consumption and lower cost, which puts higher demands on the power consumption and cost of the switching cores. It is no exaggeration to say that all the technical parameters of industrial switches are related to the chip solutions they adopt. Generally speaking, the chip solutions used in industrial switches are divided into the following categories: broadcom, marvel, vts, realtek.


PCB Board of Industrial Ethernet Switch

PCB board is also known as a Printed circuit board (PCB). The PCB boards of high quality switches will use the "immersion gold" process, because the properties of gold are more stable, the crystal structure is denser, oxidation is not easy to occur, and the service life of the product will be longer.

In addition, the PCB boards of industrial networking switches are made to be waterproof, moisture proof and dust proof.

Power Supply of Industrial-Grade Switch

Industrial grade switches are designed with dual power supply redundancy, and wide temperature and voltage range. Their high reliability also comes from power supply anti-reverse connection protection and over-voltage, under-voltage protection. Some so-called industrial products on the market are only equipped with single power input though claiming to have dual-redundant power supply design. We have to know that the power damage can easily lead to communication interruptions. Customers can rest assured that all industrial switches.

Aluminum Alloy Shell Protection of Industrial Switch

Industrial switches adopt a fanless design and aluminum alloy shell, which is better for heat dissipation and conductivity than the iron shell counterparts. Even worse, if the iron shell rust enters the product, it will greatly reduce the stability and service life of the product. However, the aluminum alloy features low density, light weight, high strength, and corrosion resistance, representing a good metal casing for industrial application switches.

Surge Protection of Industrial-Grade Switch

Industrial grade switches are mostly deployed in harsh outdoor environments (e.g. wind farms), and when the equipment encounters lightning, the surge protection can drain the lightning current into the earth to avoid equipment failure.


ElectroMagnetic Compatibility (EMC) of Industrial Switch

Controlling electromagnetic interference (EMI) and minimizing electromagnetic susceptibility (EMS) are two important aspects of maintaining electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). Industrial grade switches with EMC characteristics can operate stably in electromagnetic environments (e.g., railroad transportation) and do not cause intolerable electromagnetic interference to other equipment.

IP Ratings of Industrial Ethernet Switch

IP ratings represent the ability of the switch to be waterproof and dustproof. IP ratings consist of the letters IP (Ingress Protection), which are then followed by two digits. The higher the number after IP, the better the protection against foreign bodies. For example, industrial grade switches with IP45 protection, 4 is the dust level, 5 is the waterproof level, on behalf of its ability to prevent the size of the diameter of 1mm solid objects into the interior, and in the rain wash environment (such as integrated pipe corridors) is still stable operation.

IEC Anti-Shock of Industrial Network Switch

In complex industrial environments (e.g. coal mines), equipment will face the risks of impacts, falls, etc. Industrial-grade switches have strong shock resistance by shock-absorbing, which can effectively protect the internal components when subjected to external impacts, so as to safeguard the stability and reliability of the network.


Industrial Network Switch Software Tips

Working Temperature of Industrial Switch

Industrial-grade switch operating temperature is generally "-40 ~ 75 ℃". If you coincidentally get one with "-20 ~ 60 ℃" temperature range, though being wider than commercial temperature range, 0 to +70℃, once being deployed in applications like coal mines, water conservancy etc,. the equipment would be hard to withstand the extreme weather in winter and summer, causing downtime, resulting in frequent network failures.

Compliance and Certification of Industrial Switch

Industrial grade switches are mainly used in harsh industrial environments, and their safety, stability and reliability are much higher than those commercial ones. To tell whether the product is industrial grade, we can also start from the perfection of the certification, like UL, FCC, CE, GB, EN and other international certifications.

Configuration Software of Industrial Switch

Industrial switch manufacturers almost all self-developed network management software. In this regard, the key indicator is the stability of the software and ease of operation. A good network management software can improve the efficiency of network operations and management, effectively reducing labor and time costs.


To sum up, an industrial qualified switch is not merely characterized as wide temperature or EMI certified. The switches for industrial applications must feature with high reliability and long service life against the harsh environments, thus, the chipset, pcb board, power supply, shell, IP ratings, EMC, IEC, compliance and software are all the matters we need to take into consideration.

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