Industrial Ethernet

“Network” is a key industry buzz word right now. The first thing that comes to mind is an office setting that relies on Ethernet to operate. It’s relatively simple: plug + wifi = connection. What comes to mind for networks on the factory floor? For starters, the environment is completely different. Factors such as extreme temperature changes, electromagnetic interference (EMI), sparks from machines, air contaminants, and even moisture pose greater challenges not found in a typical office setting.


Here are some things to consider when building a rugged network for a factory setting:


  • Special connectors provide protection from water, dust, and other debris that cause corrosion and failure in a connection.
    • Industry ratings on these connectors are typically IP67
    • Connections can be installed in flush-mounted face plates, surface-mounted boxes, or custom panels
    • Many mounting options exist, such as DIN rail mounted
    • Maintain standards-based modular 8P8C (RJ45) connections
  • Cables can be installed in conduits or pathways that wouldn’t be used in a traditional network.
    • Many industrial cables require 600-volt rating
    • Cables are available in shielded or unshielded styles
    • Raceways or conduits may be metallic or non-metallic
    • Sized to accommodate single or multi-cable runs
  • The cabinets that house the patch panels and Ethernet switches must also be fortified for harsh environments.
    • NEMA 3R, NEMA 4, NEMA 4X and NEMA 12 are common ratings
    • Some are self-contained and require temperature controls (heat or A/C) to protect the components from thermal fluctuations
    • Special filters can be added to reduce contaminants
    • Locking cabinets secure connections
    • Cabinets provide easy access to add or change cables
    • Many sizes available for customization to space and/or need
    • Wall-mounted enclosures support up to 400lbs


Hubbell Premise Wiring offers an entire line dedicated to maximum protection and superior connection quality in challenging applications. Download Hubbell’s HI-IMPACT™ brochure for in-depth details. When you’re ready to install, Call Capital… we know many experienced installation companies, and would be happy to introduce you to someone in your area.