By Stuart Eaton, Regional Vice President, Sixnet
Rugged industrial Ethernet switches played a key role in the rescue of 33 miners trapped 2,400 ft below a desolate desert in Chile last October. These switches from Sixnet enabled cameras to inspect the rock structure of the tunnel walls so the trapped miners could be transported to safety. By using the cameras to look up, down and inside the Phoenix rescue capsule, they helped determine what might happen during rescue efforts.
High temperature and humidity found in the Chilean mines during the rescue efforts required special, rugged Ethernet switches for communications. These switches withstand operating temperatures typically ranging from -40 degrees to 185º F.
The industrial Ethernet switch technology used was able to withstand the 95º F heat and high humidity inside the tunnel, allowing the camera images to be quickly transmitted to a control room. They feature five wire-speed non-blocking ports, four of which operate at 10/100 Mbps and the fifth at 100 Mbps over fiber.
The Ethernet switches enabled cameras to inspect the rock structure of the tunnel walls so the trapped miners could be transported to safety.
In the case of the Chilean rescue effort, typical standard “commercial grade” local area network (LAN) switches are unable to withstand wide temperature swings, humidity, vibration and electromagnetic interference. Rugged networking products are designed, tested, and built for the harshest environments, and they also offer built-in redundancy for maximum uptime. Industrial switches offer two independent power supply connections that are hard-wired to both the primary dc power bus as well as a backup power system. This helps to ensure around-the-clock operation while eliminating failure in extreme conditions.
Filed Under: Ethernet — cables • hubs • switches, Networks • connectivity • fieldbuses