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Industrial or Consumer Networking Devices: 10 Factors to Consider

1.  Protection against solid foreign objects

What solid foreign objects are a part of your operational atmosphere?  Will your device need to be dust tight, protected against wires, or not protected at all?  If maintenance is not an option due to distance or inaccessibility, then you might need to consider what objects can find their way into your devices enclosure.

2.  Protection against water

This is very important in an outdoor application.  You want your device to be able to withstand rain.  Also what if you need your device to be submerged in water, or need to be able to hose down the device when cleaning an industrial area?  These are all conditions that need to be considered when determining which device to go with.

3.  Protection against oil, coolant, and corrosive agents

Hazardous materials can limit the range of products applicable for use.  Without a doubt, you need to have an industrial product for protection against oil, coolant, and other corrosive agents that might be in that operational atmosphere.

4.  Temperature range

There are typically two temperature ranges to consider in the specifications of a product: operational temperature and storage temperature.  Industrial products tend to have wider ranges for both of these.  If you need to store or use a device in an extreme temperature, you would want to use an industrial device.

5.  Durability

Some applications require a tolerance for impact or fast motion.  Some tests that are done on industrial devices include stationary vibration, shock, and vertical free-fall.  Some devices are also given an impact rating from 0 to 20.0 Joules.

6.  Surge protection

Surge protection ratings specify the protection level electrical devices have from voltage spikes.  In certain conditions components need to be able to withstand large spikes in voltage.  Industrial devices tend to have a higher range of tolerable AC and DC voltage spikes.

7.  Electromagnetic response

In many applications multiple electronics are in the same confined area.  Some of which might have motors, or other components that create EMF.  It is important, in this case, that your device can tolerate different electromagnetic conditions.  Industrial devices have higher electromagnetic resistance than consumer devices.

8.  Power supply

Consumer products are usually powered with a wall plug.  Industrial products are often powered in parallel to each other.  They share power supplies, rather than having a dedicated power supply for each unit.  Some have redundant power inputs that are used with redundant power supplies.

9.  Enclosure mounting

Many consumer devices are designed to be set on a desk or other flat surface and do not include any mounting options.  Industrial products include mounting options such as DIN Rail Mounting and Panel Mounting.

10.  Longevity

Most industrial products in an industrial application would be functional approximately 3 to 5 times longer than a consumer device in normal IT application.


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