Industrial Ethernet can be a complex beast to get your head round with all of the configurations and terminology that is used. Whilst training up the team and passing on his knowledge of this product portfolio, Steve Brown, Electroustic’s Technical manager has explained the common terms and products in a language we can all understand!

Ethernet Hubs

All data coming into the hub travels to all ports.  As a hub doesn’t use management or addressing, it simply divides the bandwidth among users. Not really used much these days as they have been superseded by switches.

Ease of Installation: Pretty much plug and play but requires crossover Ethernet cables (tx/rx).

Ethernet Switches (Unmanaged)

A switch, on the other hand, is more intelligent. It is selective about where it passes data. The switch learns which port certain equipment is using and passes along the data only to the ports that need to receive it.

Ease of Installation: Pretty much plug and play

Applications: Home or small/medium business LAN

Ethernet Switches (Managed)

A Managed switch has its own IP address, a telnet and probably a web-based interface to monitor and configure.

Managed switches permit some of the following configurations:

  • Ability to turn particular port range on or off
  • Link speed and duplex settings
  • Priority settings for ports
  • MAC filtering and other types of port security features which prevent MAC flooding
  • Use of Spanning Tree Protocol
  • SNMP monitoring and reporting of device and link health
  • Port mirroring (also known as: port monitoring, spanning port, SPAN port, roving analysis, port or link mode port)
  • Link aggregation (also known as bonding, trunking or teaming)
  • VLAN settings
  • 802.1X network access control
  • IGMP snooping (The process of listening to Internet Group Management Protocol network traffic).

Ease of Installation; Network administrator would be required to configure the switch

Applications: Networks with a large number of switches


Routers connect multiple networks together and manage the traffic between them

The main functions the router provides are;

  • Addresses for all computers on the network
  • Firewall Services
  • Traffic Management (QoS)
  • Security Restrictions
  • Wireless Access

Ease of Installation: Network administrator would be required

Applications: Transfer of data between networks and/or the internet

Ethernet Speeds

Standard – Data rate of 10 megabits per second (referred to as “10BASE-T”)

Fast Ethernet – Fast Ethernet is a local area network (LAN) transmission standard that provides a data rate of 100 megabits per second (referred to as “100BASE-T”)

Gigabit – Data rate of 1 gigabit per second (1000 Mbps “1000BASE-T”).

A gigabit switch will allow you to use your local network at speeds up to ten times greater than the previous generation, 10/100 Mbps Fast Ethernet. If any of the components on the network are not gigabit compliant, the entire network will be limited to 10/100 speeds. So, in order to use the maximum amount of speed on your network  you need every single component in your network (including your computers) to be gigabit compliant.

Gigabit data transfer rate is achieved using 4 pairs of CAT 5  unshielded twisted pair cables for distances up to 100 metres.

Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN)

More commonly known as Wi-Fi, WLAN is a computer network that links devices using a wireless distribution method (usually a wireless router) which allows a user the ability to move around within the coverage area and still be connected to the network.

Most wireless networks are based on the IEEE 802.11 standards and operate in 2.4GHz and 5GHz band.


Electroustic offer a wide range of Industrial Ethernet products from managed and unmanaged DIN Rail switches, fibre interfaces, converter switches, firewall & security, power supplies, PoE, WLAN, transceivers and management software from Hirschmann. Call us to discuss your Ethernet requirements on 01908 307200.