How reliable are industrial Ethernet products?

By R Lock, Westermo


Published in:

Electricity+Control, September 2013 (pages 4 - 6)

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The full article on How reliable are industrial Ethernet products? can be downloaded in PDF format.


All devices will eventually fail at some point, but it is important to understand and plan for the consequences of a failure. Firstly, how will a failure affect the network and the application as a whole? Will this cause a network failure and possibly production downtime or loss of service? Secondly if a device fails, how easy will it be to maintain or replace? If a device is installed in an accessible cabinet on-site, then it can be easily replaced. If devices are installed in remote locations, this will require a service engineer to take a trip into the field to investigate the failure and diagnose the problem.


This would represent significant time and maintenance costs. If problems are slow to be resolved, the availability of the service will be affected. Often the most significant costs are caused by failures leading directly to a loss or suspension of service for the customer. The impact could be huge in terms of lost income streams and customer confidence. Network and device reliability are therefore critical - which raises the question, exactly how reliable are industrial Ethernet products?


Take note

  • Reliability means different things to different people.
  • Overall reliability is affected by each component.
  • Meantime Between Failure (MTBF) can differ depending on how it is measured.