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Ethernet Extender - Patton Explores Possibilities in Ethernet Extender Technologies
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November 14, 2011

Patton Explores Possibilities in Ethernet Extender Technologies

By Susan J. Campbell
TMCnet Contributing Editor


Industries involved in energy production can benefit greatly from the integration of data and voice communications. They can also expect savings from streamlining their operations through hardware consolidation in this upcoming generation of industrial automation and the included features that are easy for any user to utilize.

A recent Patton (News - Alert) white paper explored the possibilities provided in Ethernet extender, highlighting that industries need to evaluate which of their antiquated technologies still work for them, and which have to go to achieve a cost-effective Ethernet extender solution. 

For example, asynchronous devices currently in place (such as meters, flow monitors, RTUs, etc.) provide low-speed data streams. If these are eliminated, what are the costs in service disruptions? More importantly, what is the cost of replacing all that hardware with upgraded devices? Industries looking toward an Ethernet extender solution are finding it is a more cost-effective approach to be converting these devices instead of an all-out replacement. You can connect asynchronous devices to the next generation of IP network, and maintain your operations while saving money by avoiding a complete replacement in an Ethernet extender project.

Sync-serial transport technologies use significant amounts of copper; most of which can’t be taken out of structures in which they are imbedded. It’s only logical then that some sort of integration be used in your Ethernet extender project, such as statistical multiplexers, which combines asynchronous outputs for use across synchronous-serial or composite link. Supporting legacy protocols with Ethernet-enabled statmux helps keep your current infrastructure while integrating with the newer technologies.Industries embarking on Ethernet extender projects have found that in transitioning to converged IP networks, there are some downfalls. 

Take into account that RS-422 only supports data transmissions 100 meters at 100 kbps. Installing CAT5 and CAT5e cable for standard Ethernet is expensive, and could possibly be a deal breaker for you. Industries involved in mining, drilling, etc., find that the devices used in Ethernet extender projects are not meant for that environment, rather, they are built for clean, climate controlled areas. Some equipment options, however, such as those devised by PE Patton Electronics Co., enclose their products in metal enclosures that protect against the elements and can withstand temperatures between -40 to 85 Celsius.

Ethernet extender projects are increasingly more common as the transition to industrial automation and convergence of IP communications becomes more ubiquitous. Companies should consider interface converters to get the most out of their current asynchronous devices while moving toward more modern applications, as well as the use of IP-enabled multiplexers for sync-serial transmission technologies that exist over twisted-pair infrastructures.

Ethernet extenders can help take the trouble out of your distance and cabling issues as you move toward standard Ethernet in the industrial environment.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Juliana Kenny

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