The communications infrastructure comprises switches, cables and connectors. Users of these components need to consider the entire network communication system to understand where failures are more likely to occur and the replacement costs involved.
Network components and media are the cause of over 70% of all network faults, with operating systems accounting for just under 20% and application programs for the rest – so it is clear that the user needs to concentrate on the hardware. This argument is strengthened by the fact that the costs of the components are minimal compared to the cost of a network failure, where downtime costs can be measured in thousands of dollars per minute.
Consider the Costs of Network Failure
If a commercial Ethernet switch or cabling system fails in an industrial environment, the real cost to the manufacturer is typically much more than just the replacement cost of the components. In fact, the cost of the parts themselves is typically only a fraction of the cost involved. The real cost may be much broader:
- Downtime in an automotive assembly plant capable of producing one vehicle per minute could equate to a $2,000 to $3,000 per minute loss of profits for small car production and up to $8,000 per minute for SUV production!
- A greater need for repetitive repairs, if the cable or switch performance is intermittent.
- A loss of worker or environmental safety. What costs would your company incur, in terms of liability, if a poorly chosen switch or cable fails in a safety-critical application?
Failures can occur at Ethernet switch, connectors or cabling. Which of these is the most difficult to replace?
- Switches – have a backup configurations
- Connectors – are usually easy to access
- Cables – are the most difficult to replace
The office and the industrial environment couldn’t differ more – especially in terms of the level of stress they place on Ethernet cabling systems, and how they can adversely affect active devices. An office-grade environment offers cabling systems a relatively safe harbor, but the industrial world is far more harsh and hazardous.
Bringing commercial off-the-shelf cabling products into the industrial landscape carries high risks for industrial and mission-critical applications.
Networked communications systems in extreme environments must be exceptionally rugged and durable. Any physical deterioration or electrical failure in key data transmission components can lead to unreliable network performance and/or safety issues.