Extending Intent-Based Networking to the IoT Edge with Cisco Catalyst Industrial Ethernet Rugged Series of Switches

Contributors: Hari Srinivasan

The Internet of Things (IoT) is no longer simply aspirational. It’s coming to life all around us.

We’re already seeing IoT in action in warehouses and distribution centers, where it’s connecting supply chain systems to deliver real-time visibility for safer, smarter operations.

It’s helping utility operators find and fix problems faster, to minimize downtime of their most important systems, and reduce service outages.

For roadways, IoT is connecting sensors, IP cameras, and digital signage that are powering real-time monitoring of traffic and road conditions, for improved flow and safety.

We’re also seeing IoT in action in manufacturing, where factories are connecting sensors, robots, and other IoT edge devices to automate processes, cut downtime, and boost productivity.

For example, Georgia-Pacific was looking for a way to unify network management over more than 135 paper manufacturing sites, struggling with complexity and high management costs. The company wanted to provide control to both its IT and Operations Technology (OT) teams, but connections from its enterprise network to harsh outdoor environments were unreliable and unmanaged, with poor network visibility. Georgia-Pacific needed a network solution that would not only fit its factory environments but could be easily managed by its existing IT teams.

Georgia-Pacific plans to deploy Cisco Catalyst IE3x00 Rugged Series switches as a key part of its IoT ethernet switching solution, to provide a compact, hardened switching solution that can be managed on the same common platform as its office network environment.

“Today Georgia-Pacific is a market leader in consumer and forest products and our growth is fueled by the efficiencies gained through Internet of Things,” said Paul Moore, Senior Director of IT at Georgia-Pacific. “Early field trials of the Cisco Catalyst IE3x00 Rugged Series has laid the foundation for future opportunities to expand intent-based networking and with it centralized management and security to the edge of the network. We look forward to continuing to deploy Cisco’s IoT industrial solutions.”

Intent-Based Networking takes IoT to the next level

Why is Intent-Based Networking (IBN) such an essential requirement for IoT solutions? The tremendous variety and volume of IoT devices and connections generates vast amounts of data, but it’s often siloed and scattered. To unleash the value of all that data, you need connectivity that’s reliable, fast, secure, and easy to manage. That means moving IBN to the IoT edge.

The power of IBN lies in its ability to reduce complexity. IBN simplifies network deployment and management by automating key IT functions and providing centralized visibility and control over everything from network performance to security, analytics, and operations.

However, the IoT edge has distinct challenges. Conditions are often harsh, with IoT devices exposed to the elements, extreme temperatures, and demanding manufacturing conditions.

Security is essential at the edge. A breach in security could lead to an electrical grid going down, stolen intellectual property in manufacturing environments, or worker safety issues in a mine or oil rig.

IoT environments often have demanding form factors, operating in utility boxes, roadways, and other environments that are small and difficult to connect to power cables. These remote environments can often be difficult to manage.

You may be running specialized applications at the edge and require networking components that support industry specifications like automation or substation environments. And as your business evolves, you’ll need a future-proof solution that’s easy to upgrade and expand.

Cisco Catalyst IE3x00 Rugged Series Switches Deliver What It Takes

Cisco Catalyst IE3x00 Rugged Series switches are fundamental for extending IBN at the IoT edge. Built from the ground up for today’s IoT applications, they deliver advanced, full Gigabit Ethernet connectivity in a modular, future-proof design.

Deeply integrated, multi-layer security is baked right into the architecture from the very beginning, with intelligent CiscoTrustSec providing policy-based access control, identity-aware networking, and data confidentiality and integrity.

Available in three base platforms, they come in fixed form factors as well as modular offerings, with many expansion modules to support copper, fiber, and PoE ports. They feature a tough, hardened design that can withstand freezing heat or extreme cold, and are fully tested and qualified for demanding industrial applications. To ease installation, Cisco Catalyst IE3x00 Rugged Series switches support Power over Ethernet (PoE) and PoE+, so you can use one cable for connectivity and power.

Perhaps best of all, the Cisco Catalyst IE3x00 Rugged Series is fully manageable with the same familiar, next-generation IOS-XE tools used to manage your enterprise network. They are ready for Cisco Software-Defined Access and bring Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA) support for IBN to industrial Ethernet applications.

We can help you accelerate your digital transformation and gain the insight and agility you need to drive unlock dramatic business outcomes, just as we’ve done for Georgia-Pacific and other companies around the world. Check out how the Cisco IE3x00 and other Cisco IoT solutions can help you extend IBN to the IoT network edge.



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