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Ethernet switch solves the incompatible IP address problem

13 June, 2013

Rockwell Automation claims to have solved the problem of integrating machines into plant networks when an OEM's IP address assignments do not match those of the end-user network. This can be a challenge for machine-builders and end-users because the IP addresses are not usually known until the machine is being installed. This can add time and cost to the commissioning process, and delay production start-ups.

Rockwell’s answer is a managed industrial Ethernet switch with an optional hardware function called Network Address Translation (NAT). This simplifies the integration of IP-address mapping from a set of local, machine-level IP addresses to the user’s broader network. It can help manufacturers that are integrating machines into a production line, especially when equipment from several different builders is being integrated into one line.

The NAT function on the Allen-Bradley Stratix 5700 switches allows OEMs to deliver standard machines without having to program unique IP addresses into them. It is also said to make the machines easier to maintain.

According to Mark Devonshire, Rockwell’s Stratix product manager, the switch also eliminates for need for extra components that need additional cabinet space, extra wiring, and additional configuration and management support.

Rockwell's Ethernet switches solve a machine-building problem

The DIN-rail-mounting switch also allows users to segment or isolate network traffic by determining which devices are exposed to the larger network. By limiting access to certain devices, they can be isolated from broader network traffic, helping to optimise the  performance of the local network.

The Stratix 5700 switches are available in 20 different models with six, 10 or 20 fixed ports. 

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