The costs of industrial Ethernet networks are one of the most traditionally debated aspects in the field. In this essay, we define and discuss the different aspects that make up a price tag for industrial poe switch, as well as suggest a framework to help providers make informed decisions about their networks’ costs.
In order to truly understand how much it will cost your company’s infrastructure to build and run an Ethernet network, it is imperative that you take into account all factors. The following overview provides some illustrative examples:
The cost of the devices themselves:
- Unmanaged Switches (Unmanaged Ethernet switches with no management interface and no built-in security features):
Multiple devices in this category are available, with prices ranging from $20 to $70, depending upon their speed and specifications. These lower-cost devices typically do not provide a management interface, leaving them vulnerable to network attacks without the use of additional software. Additionally, these lower-cost switches do not support modern security protocols like 802.1x for port access control and TACACS for centralized authentication, which makes them susceptible to unauthorized access.
- Managed Switches:
Managed switches provide a management interface, allowing for centralized configuration of the ports and their settings, which is the only way to ensure enough security in an Ethernet network. In many cases, industrial ethernet switch even offer a proprietary API (application programming interface) that can be used to write custom code to make changes and perform other tasks (such as setting up port security). However, they are typically more expensive than unmanaged devices ($150-400 per device).
- Layer 2 Switches:
Layer 3 switches such as Cisco’s Catalyst 6500 series offer customizable features on top of their basic functionality (such as use of different VLANs). However, they are also fairly expensive (around $1,000 per 10/100/1000Base-T port) and typically require more technical knowledge to use. Also note that Layer 3 switches do not route traffic between different IP subnets, so you will require at least one additional Layer 3 device in your network.
- Industrial Ethernet Gateways:
These devices connect networks using different technologies. Because of their cost (about $2,000 per 10/100/1000Base-T port), they are only practical for large-scale projects or projects that require a lot of customization out of the gate (such as connecting to a legacy network).
The cost of the network cabling itself:
Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) Cabling:
The most common cabling in Ethernet networks, UTP is significantly cheaper than other alternatives ($1.50 per foot for Category 5e and $4-7 per foot for Category 6). However, the length of runs (the distance along which the cables are laid) you can successfully deploy with UTP is limited by its speed rating. Cat 5e limits you to a maximum run of 100 meters while Cat 6 enables up to 185 meters of successful deployment. Thus, in some cases, shielded cabling may be a better choice.