Mixing The New, Old, And The Really Old… Networking Systems

Mixing The New, Old, And The Really Old… Networking Systems

Consider a scenario where you manage an industrial plant with a mix of new, old, and really old networking systems. Upgrading is imperative, but modern switches demand newer cables, potentially forcing you to replace more than planned.

With Softing’s Phoenix Digital redundant fiber Ethernet networking modules. They seamlessly integrate with legacy fiber, sparing you from costly and time-consuming overhauls. These modules serve as the backbone of critical industrial networks, linking PLCs and field devices with redundancy and reliability.

With user-friendly interfaces and plug-and-play capabilities, these modules are straightforward to deploy, ensuring a swift start and maintenance process. Additionally, they support Lock Out/Tag Out (LOTO) safety practices and can handle various Ethernet protocols simultaneously, streamlining upgrades without breaking the bank.

Table of content:

  1. Technical Features at a Glance:
  2. Redundancy Mechanisms
  3. Failover Mechanisms
  4. Fiber Optic Cable Compatibility
    • Single-Mode Fiber (SMF) vs. Multi-Mode Fiber (MMF):
      • Distances Supported
      • Signal Quality
    • Different Fiber Types and Characteristics
      • OS1 and OS2 Fiber
      • OM1, OM2, OM3, and OM4 Fiber
    • Impact on Performance
    • Light Source and Transmission Technology

Technical Features at a Glance:

  • Compatible with CompactLogix, ControlLogix, SLC-500, and PLC-5 in-chassis modules.
  • Easily mountable on a DIN rail for a clean, organised setup.
  • No need to grapple with complex command line configurations.
  • Powers up within 10 seconds, minimising downtime during installation or maintenance.
  • Facilitates simultaneous transport of multiple Ethernet protocols.
  • Enables long-distance fiber connections while addressing ground loop issues and avoiding electromagnetic interference.
  • Seamlessly connects copper Ethernet to an array of PLCs and field devices.
  • Boasts zero-second network convergence in case of fiber or module failure, ensuring uninterrupted productivity.
  • Adaptability Across Fiber Types:

These modules accommodate both single-mode and multi-mode fiber optic cables. Single-mode cables, with their slender cores, excel in long-distance applications, spanning up to 90 kilometers. In contrast, multi-mode cables are tailored for shorter distances, typically within single buildings or factory campuses, performing optimally up to 10 kilometers.

Furthermore, Softing’s modules work with different fiber optic cable types, such as OS1, OS2, OM1, OM2, OM3, and OM4, adapting to diverse network infrastructures. OS1 fibers boast tight bundling for added cohesion, while OS2 fibers offer a looser arrangement to reduce physical stress. OM1 and OM2 cables utilise LED-based equipment, while OM3 and OM4 are optimised for laser transmission.

In essence, Softing’s Fiber Ethernet Solutions are the technical linchpin that simplifies network upgrades, making them cost-effective, efficient, and minimally disruptive. They bridge the gap between past and present, ensuring your network stands strong in the face of evolving demands.

Redundancy Mechanisms

Softing’s networking modules are engineered to provide high levels of redundancy in industrial network infrastructures to ensure that critical systems remain operational even in the event of component failures. Here’s how the redundancy features work:

  • Dual-Port Design: These modules typically come with dual-port configurations. Each port connects to a separate network path or device. This dual-port design creates redundancy at the hardware level.
  • Link Aggregation: The modules often support link aggregation, also known as Ethernet bonding or trunking. This technology combines the bandwidth of both ports into a single logical connection. If one port or link fails, traffic seamlessly shifts to the other, ensuring uninterrupted data flow.

Failover Mechanisms

In the context of these networking modules, failover mechanisms are essential for ensuring uninterrupted network operations when a failure occurs. Here’s how they work:

  • Link Monitoring: The modules continuously monitor the status of both network connections. If one link experiences a failure, such as a cable disconnection or port malfunction, the system detects it.
  • Automatic Switchover: Upon detecting a link failure, the networking modules initiate an automatic switchover process. This process involves routing traffic exclusively through the functional link, effectively bypassing the failed connection.
  • Zero-Second Convergence: One of the key benefits of Softing’s modules is their zero-second network convergence time. This means that the switchover happens so quickly that it’s imperceptible to network users. There is no interruption in data transmission, ensuring uninterrupted productivity.
  • How-swappable: The hot-swappable capability of these modules further simplifies maintenance. Engineers can replace faulty modules without shutting down the entire network, minimising disruptions.

Fiber Optic Cable Compatibility

Single-Mode Fiber (SMF) vs. Multi-Mode Fiber (MMF):

  • SMF: Single-mode fiber features a smaller core diameter (around 9 micrometers) and allows for a single mode of light to travel through the core. This results in lower dispersion and attenuation, making it ideal for long-distance transmissions.
  • MMF: Multi-mode fiber has a larger core diameter (typically 50 or 62.5 micrometers) and permits multiple modes of light to travel through the core. While it’s suitable for shorter distances, it exhibits higher dispersion and attenuation compared to SMF.

Distances Supported

  • SMF: Single-mode fiber is capable of transmitting data over much longer distances, often exceeding 90 kilometers without the need for regeneration or amplification.
  • MMF: Multi-mode fiber is typically used for shorter-distance applications, performing optimally within a range of up to 10 kilometers.

Signal Quality

  • SMF: Due to its lower dispersion and attenuation, single-mode fiber provides high signal quality even over long distances. It is less susceptible to signal degradation.
  • MMF: Multi-mode fiber, while suitable for shorter distances, may experience higher levels of dispersion and attenuation, which can affect signal quality.

Different Fiber Types and Characteristics

OS1 and OS2 Fiber

  • OS1: OS1 fiber refers to a type of single-mode fiber. It is tightly bundled, which enhances signal integrity. OS1 fibers are commonly used for indoor applications.
  • OS2: OS2 fiber is also a type of single-mode fiber. It has a looser bundling to reduce physical stress. OS2 fibers are suitable for outdoor installations and long-distance transmissions.

OM1, OM2, OM3, and OM4 Fiber

  • OM1 and OM2: These are types of multi-mode fibers. OM1 has a core diameter of 62.5 micrometers, while OM2 has a core diameter of 50 micrometers. They are primarily used for shorter-distance applications within buildings or campuses.
  • OM3 and OM4: These are also multi-mode fibers, optimised for higher bandwidth. They have a core diameter of 50 micrometers. OM3 and OM4 are laser-optimised, making them suitable for high-speed data transmission.

Impact on Performance

  • Core Diameter: The core diameter determines the number of modes that can be transmitted through the fiber. Smaller core diameters (as in single-mode fiber) allow for fewer modes and result in better signal quality and longer transmission distances.
  • Bundling: The way fibers are bundled (as in OS1 vs. OS2) affects their physical robustness and ability to withstand environmental stress. Tight bundling (OS1) provides added cohesion and protection.

Light Source and Transmission Technology

  • LED-Based (OM1 and OM2): OM1 and OM2 cables utilise LED-based equipment. This technology is suitable for shorter-distance applications and provides cost-effective solutions.
  • Laser-Optimised (OM3 and OM4): OM3 and OM4 fibers are optimised for laser transmission. They support higher bandwidth and are ideal for high-speed data transmission over longer distances.

Understanding the technical specifications and characteristics of different fiber optic cable types allows engineers to select the most appropriate solution for their specific industrial networking needs. Factors such as core diameter, bundling, and transmission technology all play crucial roles in determining the performance capabilities of a fiber optic cable.

Contact us HERE if you’re interested in implementing Softing in your industrial projects to unlock its benefits and drive innovation in your industry.

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