Posted By: Sean Akell

Connecting a limited number of equipment in just one system is hard enough. For a single automated production line, you may only need one or two Ethernet network nodes to enable connectivity so that operators in the control center can monitor the system status and respond to incidents. Now, imagine the headache of connecting a growing number devices from multiple systems into a single network. Every challenge is multiplied—an unenviable reality that industrial automation engineers, tasked with integrating several automated production lines across different factors, have to deal with. So how do you ensure all of these devices and Ethernet nodes are connected and that operators receive the critical data they need to maintain continuous operations?

One solution is to deploy more managed Ethernet switches, which would allow you to manage your network transmissions and set related parameters according to your needs. Although managed Ethernet switches offer greater control and granularity, maintaining multiple managed switches takes a lot of time and effort. What's more, increasing the number of manageable network nodes may increase configuration and maintenance efforts. Therefore, careful network planning and design are essential so that you don't outgrow your network too quickly. Alternatively, using unmanaged switches at some network nodes may also improve overall network efficiency and reduce maintenance efforts.

You can read about the key criteria for choosing these unmanaged switches in the latest article from Moxa.

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