Harsh-environment optical bypass relays add reliability for fiber-optic Ethernet networks

From Belden's Hirschmann brand, the OBR40 optical bypass relays protect against network failure when a switch loses power.

From its Hirschmann brand, Belden has launched its OBR40 optical bypass relay. Suitable for use in harsh environments, the relays increase the availability of fiber-optic Ethernet networks by ensuring that they remain operational despite power failures at one or more switches.

The bypass relays are designed for both ring and bus topologies. When a switch fails, an internal switchover mechanism in the relay enables data communication to continue seamlessly between neighboring switches. The bypass relay connects to a switch's fiber-optic uplink ports via two duplex inputs/outputs. The mechanism is designed to operate even when the bypass relay loses power.

The unit also supports at-will activation of the bypass function for maintenance or selective shutdown of parts of the network. For example, when the wind gets too strong in a wind park, or when maintenance work is needed, one or more turbines can be easily taken out of the network without affecting the connections of the remainder.

Related: Belden intros annual maintenance for Hirschmann industrial network management software

The bypass relay is available with ports that support three different fiber types (multi-mode 62.5/125 micron, multi-mode 50/125 micron, single-mode 9/125 micron). The switching threshold is adjustable via a DIL switch over a range of 1V to 32V. In addition, a switch-on delay (adjustable for intervals of up to 75s) allows the switch's boot process to complete so that no data packets are lost or delayed when a switch comes back on line.

The relay also features an IP30 protection rating, an operating temperature range of -40°C to +70°C, and a redundant 24 VDC power supply. The 115 x 61 x 113 mm metal housing is DIN-rail mountable. LEDs on the front panel indicate the status of the device and network. “Our new OBR40 optical bypass relays add a new level of reliability for Ethernet networks," comments Belden/Hirschmann product manager Rolf-Dieter Sommer. "[With it deployed] even multiple malfunctions do not impact the network’s overall productivity.”

Related: Unmanaged switches carry Ethernet infrastructure to harsh industrial environments

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