luchschen_shutter - Fotolia

Cisco unveils high-speed IE switch to drive industrial IoT

Cisco introduced its first 40 gigabit per second IE switch for manufacturers, energy companies and government organizations that need higher bandwidth on industrial networks.

Cisco released a 40 gigabit per second (Gbps) industrial switch designed to drive the deployment of the Internet of Things (IoT) in industrial networks and to meet the demand for higher bandwidth from manufacturers, energy companies and government.

Cisco introduced the switch, the Industrial Ethernet (IE) 4000, at the DistribuTECH conference in San Diego. Cisco said the device, which is equipped with up to 20 Gigabit Ethernet ports, is the vendor's most powerful switch in the product category.

An industrial switch is tailored for networks that move data between systems that are separate from IT networks used by a companies' administrative staff and sales and marketing departments. Rather than move documents and email, industrial networks move data gathered from robotics found in manufacturing, utility meters, oil and gas pipelines and other unique systems.

Cisco's first 40 Gbps IE switch

The IE 4000 is the first 40 Gbps switch in Cisco's industrial product line. Cisco said the product is best suited for moving data to and from devices that require low latency, such as programmable logic controllers, wireless access points and video cameras.

Video cameras are often used for surveillance in buildings, subways, busses and parking lots. However, they are also increasingly being used in manufacturing, according to Cisco. For example, filming machinery on the factory floor can help to diagnose what happened when the system breaks.

"We're starting to see video play a bigger role in industrial process monitoring," said Kip Compton, Cisco's vice president of Internet of Things systems and software.

The IE 4000 also supports Power over Ethernet , a technology that lets an electrical current run over wired LANs. The electricity is used to drive low-power devices on networks.

Faster FAN piloting

In addition to the new switch, Cisco introduced a kit to help speed up the deployment of field area network (FAN) pilots.

A FAN is an outdoor network that feeds data into an organization's internal network. An example is a FAN that connects smart meters in hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses to a utility. A smart meter is an Internet-capable device that measures energy, water or natural gas consumption.

The Industrial Operations Kit, which runs on a single Cisco Unified Computing Server, provides the security and management layers for pilots of large FANs or for a production network set up by a small or midsize organization.

The kit running on a single server supports up to 300 industrial routers and 250,000 endpoints on a mesh network in which each node connects to at least two other nodes. The network design is expected to play an important role in the development of IoT.

Next Steps

Cisco targeting railroads with Internet of Things initiative

Tackling the security challenges of industrial control systems

IoT data analysis holds opportunity for companies

Dig Deeper on Internet of Things (IoT) Hardware