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Switch closes gap between unmanaged and managed devices

19 May, 2017

Rockwell Automation has announced an alternative to managed industrial Ethernet switches for manufacturers that use unmanaged switches but struggle with downtime or security concerns. The new “lightly-managed” Allen-Bradley Stratix 2500 switch provides the security, resiliency, segmentation and bandwidth-optimisation of a managed switch, without needing extensive configuration.

“Unmanaged switches deliver the network connectivity required for less complex industrial applications, but they can’t provide diagnostics, manage traffic or enhance security,” explains global product manager, Divya Venkataraman. “Manufacturers need a more robust switch when issues like packet storms are bringing down their network, or if they want to protect against growing security threats. This is where a lightly-managed option like the Stratix 2500 switch delivers exceptional value.”

As soon as it is installed, the new switch can prioritise critical industrial network traffic. It also can be configured for specific applications. Manufacturers can use this flexibility to futureproof their operations by installing the switch out-of-the-box, and scaling it up later to a lightly-managed switch as their needs evolve.

The lightly-managed switch exceeds the capabilities of an unmanaged switch by monitoring and optimising traffic flow and providing diagnostic information to help minimise downtime. It also can support up to 64 VLANs for logical segmentation, helping to cut costs. Users can also disable ports or control end-device connectivity based on the media access control address.

Rockwell says that its new industrial Ethernet switch bridges the gap between managed and unmanaged devices

The switch is a result of Rockwell’s collaboration with Cisco and is part of the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture system, easing network configuration, management and support, while optimising integration with enterprise networks.

“The Stratix 2500 switch delivers the security and monitoring capabilities required by IT professionals, while exposing an easy-to-use Web interface for operations professionals,” says Samuel Pasquier, Cisco’s director of product management for IoT Platforms. 

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