Dave Kang, Industrial Networking Specialist at Rumsey Electric, spoke at our Novemember 2016 meeting, held at Ives Equipment in King of Prussia and attended by about 20. He noted early on that his background is primarily related to IT, which is dominated by standard Ethernet, protocols and cables. Industrial plants, on the other hand, often have proprietary networks, protocols, and cables. How do we connect the two?
The priorities of the two worlds differ. Plant operations key on network availability, integrity, and confidentiality, while in IT these priorities are reversed. Both want to protect against threats. The question is: what is a logical framework for finding ways to converge the two network worlds.
Challenges are numerous in the industrial plant settings. Examples include budget restraints, aging infrastructure and equipment, and a resistance to change. The scope of changes needed may seem overwhelming.
It’s best to start small. Develop a graphical representation of the network participants and their function. Implement managed switches among devices that include diagnostics, segmentation, optimization, and traffic control. What’s needed is somewhat like a demilitarized zone between the plant networks and the IT Ethernet network.
A resource for an in-depth discussion of this topic is available in the “Converged Plantwide Ethernet (CPwE) Design and Implementation Guide,” an initiative of Rockwell Automation and Cisco. Link. For a copy of Dave’s presentation click here..
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