Cisco Blogs

Why are you Using Legacy and Proprietary Networks for your Factory Floor?

April 23, 2012 - 5 Comments

These days you hear a lot about convergence. Networking, compute, and storage technologies are converging in the data center. Wired and wireless networks are converging in campus networks. These converging technologies are being driven by a desire to make IT infrastructure more flexible and responsive to changing business and employee needs, and to use IT as a competitive advantage to deliver products and services faster to the marketplace.

What has this got to do with industrial networks?

Industrial networks have been held back from realizing the full promise of the network because they currently rely on a mix of legacy and proprietary protocols that make it difficult to connect industrial networks to corporate networks seamlessly. When you don’t have seamless connectivity between corporate and industrial networks, it becomes very hard to use enterprise applications running on corporate networks to drive the factory systems running on industrial networks, or to get real-time visibility of plant floor processes for corporate IT systems. You also end up dealing with all the complexity that comes from managing multiple networks.

Cisco can help companies in manufacturing, oil and gas, mining, transportation, and energy companies extend the benefits of standardized, Ethernet-based switching from their corporate networks to their industrial networks, and gain real-time visibility into plant floor operations. According to the Aberdeen Group, leading companies are already adopting these kinds of converged networking methodologies to help:

  • Improve industrial network uptime
  • Reduce total cost of ownership
  • Increase operating margin

Therefore, to extend the range of products available for our customers to further enable implementation of this networking convergence, today Cisco announced the Industrial Ethernet 2000 Series Switches at Hannover Messe show in Germany. IE 2000 switches extend the benefits of Catalyst and IOS technologies that have been driving success for our enterprise customers to industrial networks. Customers can expect to see the same intelligent network services on their industrial networks that they are used to on their corporate networks.

IE 2000 Series Switches expand Cisco’s family of Industrial Ethernet switches – we now have a portfolio of fixed, modular and rack-mountable platforms that can address a wide range of deployment scenarios in industrial networks. All these switches run the proven Cisco IOS software. They deliver integrated security, deterministic resiliency, and support for industry-specific protocols to help you get started on the path of consolidating your industrial and corporate networks into one network. Here is a brief summary of Cisco’s Industrial Ethernet portfolio:

Cisco IE 3000 Series Switches
  • Leading DIN-Rail modular platform for Industrial Ethernet applications
  • Scales up to 24-ports with expansion modules
  • Layer 2 and Layer 3 switching
Cisco IE 2000 Series Switches
  • Leading DIN-Rail fixed platform for Industrial Ethernet applications
  • Scales up to 16-ports
  • Layer 2 switching
Cisco IE 3010 Series Switches
  • Leading rack-mountable platform for Industrial Ethernet applications
  • Scales up to 24-ports with RJ45, or 16 SFP ports and 8 PoE ports
  • Layer 2 switching

Cisco’s broad portfolio of Industrial Ethernet switches, and partnerships with industry leaders such as Rockwell give you the tools you need to start realizing the benefits of converged industrial and corporate networks.

What are some of the challenges you are facing in your industrial networks? Does Cisco’s Industrial Ethernet Switching portfolio help you address some of those challenges?

Learn more:

Cisco IE 2000 Series Switches:

Cisco IE 3000 Series Switches:

Cisco IE 3010 Series Switches:

Ethernet-to-the-Factory Solution:

In an effort to keep conversations fresh, Cisco Blogs closes comments after 60 days. Please visit the Cisco Blogs hub page for the latest content.


  1. Hi Pradeep,
    although this sounds very good I am running into the problem that the IE2000 is not available for sale. Can you enlighten us on this?


    • Hi Bart,

      All 4 port models and most 8 port models are expected to be orderable by July 2012. All 16-port models and remaining 8-port model is expected to be orderable by September 2012.


  2. This looks good to me ! I am intersted to know what advantages and disadvantages would be there if I use typical coporate switches in factory enviornment such as Cat 2960s..Cat 3750s etc.



    • Hi Anwar,

      Thanks for the comment. You can most certainly deploy Cisco Catalyst 2960-S and 3750-X switches on the factory floor if the deployment environmentals are within what the switches support, and you need higher port density. Cisco Industrial Ethernet line of switches are hardened for harsh environments, for example, they can operate over a wider temperature range, which makes better suited for the factory floor. Cisco IE switches also offer the additional benefit of support for industry-specific protocols such as PROFINET.

      Pradeep Parmar

  3. This look great, very sturdy, I’d be interested to hear how people plan to use them.