Cisco adds ruggedized industrial switches, APs, routers for IoT edge

July 16, 2019
New harsh-environment hardware targets secure connections for remote industrial locations. Platform partners and developers include Emerson.

At the recent Cisco Live U.S. (June 9-13) forum in San Diego, Cisco introduced new networking technology purpose-built to withstand the rigors of the harshest of environments, while providing IT and OT teams with "intent-based networking" capabilities to scale and accelerate IoT projects. Extending intent-based networking to some of the most challenging work environments on Earth, from chemical plants and oil refineries, to mines, the company's new line of ruggedized industrial switches, access points and routers are designed to withstand extended exposure to water, dust, and other extreme environmental conditions. Cisco is cultivating a global ecosystem of partners and developers, such as Emerson, to innovate on the new networking platform.

At Cisco Live, the company as directly quoted said its latest IoT innovations include:

  • Ruggedized Access: Catalyst Heavy Duty switches and access points are designed to withstand extended exposure to dust, water and other extreme environmental conditions. These IP67 rated products are managed by Cisco DNA Center, providing universal management, network assurance, and segmentation across campus, branch and operational technology (OT) environments.

  • SD-WAN for IoT Edge: The new Cisco Industrial Router now supports Cisco SD-WAN capabilities to securely connect remote locations and elevate applications performance. This marks the first SD-WAN solution built for industrial IoT customers. 

  • Securing OT environments: Cisco recently announced its intent to acquire Sentryo to provide unparalleled visibility into OT devices, allowing IT teams to collaborate and secure these sensitive networks. This includes devices that run critical infrastructure from electric utilities and oil refineries to manufacturing operations and distribution warehouses.

"Chemical plants, oil refineries and mines represent some of the most challenging work environments on Earth. In these industries, connectivity and data are business-critical, with production downtime impacting the bottom line and worker safety," notes Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager, IoT at Cisco. She continues, "A secure connection is the foundation for every IoT deployment. By extending intent-based networking to the IoT edge, we are helping IT and OT teams work together to reduce operational complexity, boost the bottom line, and improve worker safety.”

At the forum, Cisco and Emerson announced they are working together to bring to market a joint solution that combines state-of-the-art wireless networking with the same in industrial process control systems.

"For the oil and gas industry, better insights mean improved machine uptime, predictive maintenance, and reduced risk for workers. By integrating the new Cisco heavy duty access point with Emerson’s next-generation WirelessHART gateway, we are able to leverage sensor data from critical assets to eliminate blind spots, and improve productivity and safety of their operations,” says Bob Karschnia, vice president and general manager of wireless for Emerson’s Automation Solutions business.

"Intent-based networking represents a fundamental shift in the way networks are built and managed," adds Cisco's Centoni. "Moving away from the manual, time-intensive methods by which networks are traditionally managed, these modern networks capture business intent and translate it into network policy. By bringing intent-based networking to IoT customers, organizations gain the ability to scale in an automated way and the flexibility to connect their legacy and future infrastructure, such as with 5G, all while securely connecting it all with built-in and layered on protection."

The new Cisco IR1101 Router is available now. The Cisco Catalyst IE3400 Heavy Duty Series Switch will be available in the summer, with the Catalyst IW6300 Heavy Duty Series Access Points available in the fall.

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