Fieldbus & Industrial Networking


Industrial Ethernet routing switch

September 2009 Fieldbus & Industrial Networking

Westermo Data Communications has released a range of high-performance industrial Ethernet switches with enhanced routing functionality. The RedFox series is designed to build cost effective, secure and reliable networks that would previously have required several discrete units.

Initially developed for special mission-critical applications in the defence, rail, aerospace and sub-sea markets, this new off-the-shelf version of RedFox is based on a design that exceeds normal industrial requirements. This robust DIN rail mountable unit has a heavy duty aluminium enclosure for maximum strength, heat dissipation and resilience to extreme levels of electromagnetic interference (300 A/m).

Manufactured from industrial grade components and able to operate in temperatures from -40 to +70°C with no internal fans, RedFox has an MTBF (mean time between failure) of 600 000 hours. The new switch provides the highest levels of standard compliance for EMC, railway applications, vibration, humidity, shock and altitude, allowing it to be used in just about any operating environment.

The range offers a number of Ethernet interface combinations, ranging from 10 to 18 10/100/BaseTX ports, plus the option of four SPF Gigabit and four 1000BaseTX ports. To ensure the network resilience RedFox supports STP (spanning tree protocol) and RSTP (rapid STP), and also features Westermo’s unique fast recovery of network topology (FRNT) redundant ring functionality. FRNT is able to reconfigure a redundant ring network consisting of up to 200 switches within 20 ms, regardless of network load. This functionality enables RedFox switches to be used in safety critical applications.

RedFox also supports IGMP (Internet group management protocol) snooping, which provides filtering techniques to manage the flow of data around the ring in such a way as to optimise the bandwidth. IGMP snooping has also been integrated into FRNT to ensure optimum performance even during a network failure.

Routing is becoming an essential function for the merging infrastructure and factory automation networks. The RedFox’s static routing and firewall functions can provide simple segregation to ensure dataflow is controlled between networks. Comprehensive VLAN (virtual LAN) support allows the physical switched network to be subdivided increasing security and network bandwidth and improving manageability. VLANs can also be allocated to particular switch ports and centrally configured.

Several layers of security are available, vital to prevent both malicious and accidental network failures including an inbuilt firewall and 256 bit AES encryption on IPSEC VPN tunnels. When using NAT (network address translation) the IP address of protected devices can be hidden in a local secure network. RedFox can also act as a VPN server allowing IPsec tunnels to be set up between remote users and a local secure network. Web configuration pages and SNMP (simple network management protocol) can be disabled and the command line interface (CLI) is secured using SSH (secure shell protocol).

Redfox is extremely easy to use, needing no configuration out of the box. An auto-discovery IP-Configuration tool allows the IP address, subnet mask and gateway address to be set up. A web interface allows configurations such as FRNT ring, VLANs or a basic firewall to be set up. Advanced configuration and monitoring can be achieved using SNMP. Fine tuning for rigorous applications using the intuitive CLI enables running changes to be made without the need for a reboot.

The units’ isolated power supply has an operating voltage range from 16 to 60 VDC and can be fed from two separate supplies of differing voltages.



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