Are IP67 PoE Ethernet Extenders the Answer for Industrial Connectivity?
By Biju (Brad) Oommen, Network Solutions
Originally published in Automation
With rapid digitization, Power Over Ethernet (PoE) Ethernet extenders can greatly benefit PoE enabled network devices such as: Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) readers, IP Paging systems, IP cameras, IP phones, IP Horn Speakers, Sensors and Wireless access points. This can be especially true in hard to reach outdoor locations in factory environments and industrial settings.
System installers and planners, for such solutions and systems, can avoid running multiple cables dedicated to main AC power and network connectivity. Thus, they can avoid costly installation and maintenance, especially when they are far away from AC power outlets and beyond the reach of wired Ethernet network connections.
PoE Ethernet extenders can play a vital role in delivering power and data over various existing media such as 2-wire, 24-AWG twisted-pair, Cat 3, Cat 5e/6/7, or coaxial cable in a reliable manner.
Summarily, the benefits of PoE Ethernet extenders may include:
Potential lower costs - running only one cable using existing media such as 24-AWG twisted-pair, Cat 3 for the end device data and power requirements.
Location flexibility - IP security cameras, WiFi access points, RFID readers can be located in more optimal places and faster without any dependency on an AC electrical outlet.
Enhanced safety and reliability - IEEE 802.3af PoE power can be delivered safely and · reliably from a central location, which also has access to an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) and backup power.
For indoor/outdoor environments such as factories, warehouses and for industrial applications, an Ingress Protection (IP) 67 rating certified and designed to NEMA 4X…weather proof indoor/outdoor PoE Ethernet extenders would be beneficial. IP 67 provides outstanding protection against water and dust for the PoE Ethernet extender equipment inside the NEMA 4X designed enclosure. It will provide a degree of protection from the harmful effects of windblown dust and water (rain, snow, splashing water).
Let us illustrate some applications for the industrial IP 67 NEMA 4X PoE Ethernet extenders:
Figure 1-Outdoor PoE Surveillance Camera
Consider Figure 1. Typically an Outdoor IP surveillance camera when it is installed normally requires two connections, AC power, plus a high speed network connection for video recording and display.The outdoor industrial PoE Ethernet extender would use just one cable and provide both power and a 100 Mbps Ethernet connection which is fully transparent to the IP video formats/compression schemes. This enables a simple surveillance solution.
Figure 2-Outdoor PoE Horn Speaker
Look at Figure 2. Here, we are able to deliver power PoE (802.3af)-electrical power and Ethernet connectivity to an outdoor Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) based, IP outdoor loud speaker/horn that could be used for voice paging or security/emergency notification and alerting. PoE Ethernet extender allows the Horn speaker to communicate with the SIP IP based centralized Paging system at the factory HQ on the 802.1Q VLAN tagged voice VLAN.
Figure 3- Outdoor PoE WiFi AP
Figure 3 shows wireless dead zones can be a thing of the past in a factory or industrial setting with vast open spaces. We are able to create or extend wireless connectivity using an existing wired Cat-3 cable connection between the Factory H.Q and a location on the campus using Poe Ethernet extenders. You can now place WiFi access points at strategic locations, eliminating wireless dead zones. With the resulting improved outdoor wireless coverage density, Wi-Fi connections can help industrial tablets and smart phones communicate effectively over WiFi for measurement and control applications.
Figure 4-Outdoor SIP PoE Industrial Phone
As depicted in Figure 4, no power is required at the remote location, but the SIP PoE enabled IP industrial phone is powered up and communicates with the SIP server located away at the campus factory HQ. Through rain and other extreme conditions an IP67-certified PoE Ethernet extender makes all this possible.
Let us now do a quick functional and operational test focusing on extending Ethernet connectivity transparent to higher layer Ethernet protocols and concurrently delivering PoE.
For this discussion and functional testing we will use one such device Patton’s
CL1100EIP67-CopperLink Model 1101E/IP67 Outdoor Rated PoE Remote. It is rated for IP67 with the enclosure designed to NEMA 4X. It comes equipped with: 1 xRJ45 line interface that supports 1 to 4 pairs, 1 x RJ45 Auto-Sensing 10/100Base-TX with full or half-duplex operation, 802.3af (mode A) Ethernet port; LED indicator for power/line; supports transparent operation of higher layer industrial Ethernet protocols such as EtherCAT, Modbus-TCP, PROFINET and IP video schemes/compression
Overvoltage protection on Line and Ethernet ports prevents damage from ESD (electrostatic discharge), CDE (cable discharge events), and
lightning. It is built to withstand temperatures from -10 to 70°C and Humidity: 10 to 95% (non-condensing).
For our functional testing, we powered the CL1101 locally using an external AC power adapter. The Ethernet port of the CL1101 local RJ-45 was connected to an Ethernet network port on a wireless Ethernet Bridge [essentially, we are extending a wired Ethernet connection from a wireless Ethernet bridge]. A point to point connection setup was completed i.e. the CL1101 local and CL1101 remote units work as a pair. Essentially, you would interconnect the RJ-45 line ports of the units together. At the far end, the Ethernet RJ-45 port was connected to an IP TV and we were able to transparently stream video traffic. For verification of 802.3af we connected it to a PoE IP phone.We used the 4-position DIP switch on the units to set the line rate: 10 Mbps or 100 Mbps, number of wire pairs (2-wire/single pair, 4-wire/2 pairs, 8-wire/4 pairs); the PoE mode: 802.3af. LED’s on the local and remote units provided us visual indicators for line/power.
IP67 NEMA4X PoE Ethernet extenders should be dust proof and watertight, as to be ideal for outdoor and indoor environments like warehouses, factories and other industrial settings. However it is important to follow vendor guidelines to maintain IP67 performance. It is also essential to consult the vendor’s data reach and power delivery estimates based on the cabling type/gauge that will be used for the line interconnection.
Brad (Biju) Oommen is a network architect and principal consultant. His work revolves around multi-vendor product and technology integration. It spans the domains of IP Telephony, Multi-media Contact Center, VoIP-H.323/SIP, SDH, EoS, WiFi/VoWiFi, SSL VPN, application acceleration, email and network security, SEM, SAN, IP networks, Fiber, and Microwave communications. He can be contacted at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org