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Why Westermo for Industrial Ethernet?

There are many companies who claim to offer "Industrial Ethernet" products. Is all Industrial Ethernet created equal? Are their products truly industrial?

Ethernet is today, the most used communication standard generally and is growing rapidly within the industrial sector. Westermo offers a broad range of Industrial Ethernet, from unmanaged switches up to the most sophisticated switches on the market with implemented time-server. When Westermo says their products are Industrial Ethernet, they mean it. They offer some of the most robust products on the market today. From temperature range to isolation, when you can't afford to be down and you need something to work, regardless of the environment, Westermo's products fit that description.

Westermo Offers an Edge of Network Solution
Edge Networks Solutions have been developed by Westermo to meet the demands of mission critical networks. WeOS software, robust hardware, industry approvals and network tools are the cornerstones of Edge Network Solutions and when combined they create the most resilient and robust solutions for any mission critical network.
WeOS Robust hardware Approvals Network tools
harware_plus approvals_plus tools_plus
Continuously upgraded software solution incorporating functions to create resilient networks... ...with the most reliable hardware on the market, designed for the most extreme environments... ...tested by external test houses to meet industrial EMC, isolation, vibration and shock standards... ...configured and controlled using `made easy’ software tools enabling increased availability and security.

Westermo is a leader in innovation for the industrial Ethernet arena, supplying basic unmanaged Ethernet switches, managed Ethernet switches, industrial Ethernet extenders, industrial routing switches and Ethernet converters. With their complete range of high temperature rated industrial devices, Ethernet can be run directly or converted to serial, fiber, 3G, 4G, HSDPA, WIFI and SHDSL with their Wolverine Ethernet Extenders.

Westermo offers a comprehensive Ethernet solution comprising both layer 2 and layer 3 functionality.

Lynx RedFox Viper
Layer 2 & 3 Managed Industrial Ethernet Layer 2 & 3 Managed Industrial Ethernet Layer 2 & 3 IP67 Industrial Ethernet
Falcon PMI-110 Wolverine
ADSL / VDSL with Industrial Ethernet Power Over Ethernet Switch SHDSL Industrial Ethernet Extender

In addition to Westermo's extensive and feature packed Ethernet Switch / Router products, they also offer wide range of other Ethernet tools to round out their product offering, including unmanaged Etherent Switches, Routers, Power over Ethernet (PoE), Wireless Ethernet, Wireless 3G communications and Media Converters (Ethernet to Serial, Fiber to Ethernet, etc...)

Problem: Access to secure data from untrusted network Solution: DMZ firewall configuration
In infrastructural applications there are often demands for high network security, and being able to control the data traffic on the network is a key issue when utility companies want to allow network management and monitoring over insecure networks. With any WeOS product, you can create a Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) which acts as a buffer between the trusted zone and un-trusted zones (usually the Internet). DMZ prevents direct communication between the un-trusted zone and the protected network. All communications from the un-trusted zone are terminated on an intermediate Server or Historian.

Also available in Red Fox, Viper and Wolverine products through WeOS operating system

Problem: Network security for critical control devices Solution: Firewalls between VLANs
Older plants are often built up of small isolated processes or automation islands. The present situation does however look different where high security and availability are key requirements. The cost of reprogramming the automation islands can be prohibitive.  Westermo’s Ethernet devices running WeOS can solve this issue relatively easily with a combination of VLANs and routing to integrate all the automation islands into one system without the need to re-configure all the IP addresses on the system.  The security issues associated with a plant-wide network can be addressed with the integrated Firewall built into every WeOS enable device.

Also available in Red Fox, Viper and Wolverine products through WeOS operating system

Problem: Repeated IP addresses across network Solution: NAT/port forwarding
In some applications, the same IP addresses are sometimes reused for each island of equipment. This is typical for Wind turbines or solar panels where the equipment is pre-configured and delivered to site as a stand alone unit.  In large installations, a SCADA system is used to manage the individual islands, but this is a problem as all the devices in each island have the same IP address. WeOS can overcome this issue using NAPT or NAT port forwarding rules.  Using the integrated firewall in WeOS, rules can be created to translate an IP address and port numbers on the SCADA network to an IP address and port number on the Wind turbine network.

Also available in Red Fox, Viper and Wolverine products through WeOS operating system

Problem: Sensitive data passing through untrusted networks Solution: Encrypted Ipsec VPN tunnel
Many applications within the utility sector extend over large geographical areas where the possibility of management and monitoring from a remote location can be crucial. All WeOS products are equipped with VPN functionality, which means that network resources can be provided in a secure manner over un-trusted networks like the Internet.
VPN can also be used to connect different remote networks with each other. Networks connected with VPN tunnels function exactly like one joined network, even though they can be physically located at any location. WeOS allows for up to 25 IPSec encrypted VPN tunnels to be created.

Also available in Red Fox, Viper and Wolverine products through WeOS operating system

Problem: Use IP to replace legacy enterprise network Solution: Layer 3 Dynamic Routing
In railway signalling, two different migrations take place at the same time. Apart from the migration from legacy IIP systems, Ethernet systems now also have the capability to replace large parts of existing SDH systems ( Synchronous Digital Hierarchy). In case of an increased density of trackside equipment, no additional SDH nodes are needed since Industrial Ethernet equipment is able to offer the needed availability, using either layer 2 redundancy and/or layer 3 static or dynamic routing. Whichever need you have, from simple 25 year-old FSK serial technology up to complex routing across different media, Westermo has it all to support you in offering a complete solution for complex and demanding environments.

Also available in Red Fox, Viper and Wolverine products through WeOS operating system

Problem: Breaks in multicast data streams during ring recovery Solution: IGMP Snooping
Long distance transmission of IP Video over existing backbone systems makes it possible to selectively monitor trackside cameras without draining the system’s bandwidth when cameras are not monitored. In the same way, it is possible to ‘broadcast’ a single stream over the network and make it available to an unlimited amount of users, using only the single stream to each network node. With the implementation of IGMP Snooping and redundancy protocols supported in WeOS, Westermo is able to offer a IP CCTV and IP Broadcasting solution based on any kind of media. Whether it is copper, fiber, or inter-station transmission over SDH (Synchronous Digital Hierarchy) backbones, WeOS offers all the protocols needed to build and manage the network solution.

Also available in Red Fox, Viper and Wolverine products through WeOS operating system

Problem: Managing networks securely Solution: SSH, HTTPS and SNMP V.3
As our networks grow, it becomes more important that they can be managed and monitored easily, but also with a high degree of security. Managing networks over  insecure un-encrypted links, even on the local LAN is no-longer acceptable.Products running WeOS can be configured through a secure user-friendly web interface or through an industry standard CLI interface. Regardless of how you configure your network devices, all management information will be SSL encrypted. The industry standard SNMP (v2c and v3) and Syslog protocols are supported within WeOS to provide status information on the health of the network.

Also available in Red Fox, Viper and Wolverine products through WeOS operating system

Problem: Resilient enterprise level network Solution: OSPF and VRRP
Features for increased availability and security through layer 3 routing are crucial for the next generation of industrial control networks. For this reason, we have implemented the most widely used routing protocols in industrial networks into our software platform. OSFP (Open Shortest Path First) in combination with VRRP (Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol) allow you to build redundant network topologies such as ring, star, mesh or any network type at any time. For control networks in the water and wastewater sector, this may be particularly important as these systems are often built to control and monitor critical processes. An improved network availability and security lessens any negative impact on the environment through enhanced management and asset visibility. The lifetime of assets can be extended due to better maintenance and management.  These are just some of the benefits that can be achieved.

Also available in Red Fox, Viper and Wolverine products through WeOS operating system

Problem: Prediction of possible network failure Solution: SNMP for alarms/traps and monitoring
With the WeOS enabled Wolverine, Lynx and RedFox, Westermo offers perfect solutions for migrating existing systems to IP and being able to make a flexible choice between copper and fibre runs. The additional benefits that IP networks offer is being able to do monitoring on various parameters. Alarms or SNMP traps can be sent before there is a network failure mode. This increases the availability of legacy systems.
Problem: Multiple Connections to a Single Device Solution: WeOS Multilink Dual Homing
In this fresh water application remote I/Os have been used with only one Ethernet interface. Security and resilience are essential for this type of application. All installed equipment needs to have connection to both of the redundant rings, which WeOS provides. A major benefit of using a WeOS product is that with the ever increasing worry of cyber-attack the built in firewall means that a single device can solve two network issues in a simple reliable package.

When one network device, for instance an I/O block or industrial controller, is seen to be critical to a system it makes sense to consider providing dual connections to separate parts of a network. Some industrial equipment has two network interface cards, but in many cases this option is not available. Also with this solution the device has to support a protocol that decides on which network connection to use which can add complexity to the i/o function.

Networking Consideration:

In any Ethernet network it is important not to accidently create rings. If this happens then network broadcast packets can end up circulating the network endlessly resulting in the ‘broadcast storm’ phenomenon. To provide the most reliable solution it is important that the primary and secondary links connect to separate parts of the backbone network. This kind of connection is defined as dual homing.

The Solution:

WeOS offers a feature called Multilink Dual Homing that allows more than just a dual connection to the network. It is actually possible to configure as many as eight of these links back to the main network. With this function network solutions can be created offering multiple levels of resilience.
Obviously the switch that connects to the equipment can be seen as a single point of failure, much like the i/o device. It is therefore critical that this switch is designed with the highest level of reliability to ensure maximum levels of network resilience. The best measure of reliability is the MTBF of the product. The Westermo Lynx and Redfox range of products offer industry leading figures exceeding 500,000 hours.

Problem: Need Both FRNT Ring Coupling and Multilink Dual Homing Solution: WeOS FRNT and Multilink Dual Homing
Safety is the overriding design criterion for the systems in a modern road tunnel. Ventilation is vital as is the management of the traffic entering the tunnel. In the event of an incident it is important to be able to prevent more people entering the tunnel. When this kind of safety is at stake the fault tolerance of the network is a mission critical consideration. By the use of Multilink dual homing together with FRNT ring coupling protocol a resilient rapid recovery network is possible.

Some industrial networks are so critical that they must be resilient to both media and equipment failure. If there is a failure there may be no opportunity to carry out network maintenance for some time. For this reason therefore it is desirable to have a network that can tolerate multiple failures. The traditional approach to this is to use routing protocols, however these protocols can be slow to reconfigure the network  and also the network hardware tends to have a higher cost.

Networking Consideration:

Protocols such as OSPF and RIP have been designed for huge wide area networks. The protocols allow network hardware to be connected with multiple backup paths that are selected if the primary paths fail. As these protocols are designed for wide area networks they often take several seconds to reroute data in the event of a topology change. These router technologies are defined as a layer 3 function. For faster network reconfiguration layer 2 switch protocols need to be used to control the network topology.

The Solution:

A combination of Westermo’s Multilink Dual Homing and FRNT Ring Coupling provide a rapid recovery resilient network solution. Different media can also be incorporated to make use not just of normal copper and fibre network cables, but also twisted pair connections using SHDSL technology.

Problem: Network Failure is Not An Option Solution: WeOS FRNT
On a solar plant the panels are in constant and controlled motion to ensure that they are always facing the optimum direction for power generation. During daylight hours every second earns money for the operator of the plant. A network failure will massively impact on the ability of the network to operate at 100% efficiency so resilience is critical.
If a failure does occur in a ring network then the plant will continue generating for the rest of the day until maintenance can be carried out overnight or at the next scheduled shut down.   It is during this period that the plant would be vulnerable to a second failure which is why a multiple resilient network is needed.

Mission critical infrastructure networks and industrial applications must operate for 100% of the required time for the systems they connect. Sometimes this can mean 24/7 or just during the operation for which they are critical.  Stopped manufacturing lines, interrupted infrastructure services, and other system failures are unacceptable as they inevitably result in costs for the operator.

If a single network failure occurs it is often not possible to carry out immediate maintenance. An engineer may not be available or the operator may not risk stopping a system that is currently working to repair a broken cable.

The processes running on mission critical networks often employ protocols that cannot tolerate packet losses of more than a few milliseconds before registering errors. Network errors will sometimes force an expensive  process shut down.

Networking Consideration:

If all data on a ring network was directed to known devices then the address learning capability of Ethernet switches would allow rings of basic switches to be used. Unfortunately many protocols generate broadcast traffic that floods to all parts of the network to find its destination. If normal switches are configured in a ring this data will circulate forever in the network, multiplying until eventually the network overloads.

Special protocols exist like FRNT that ensure that these broadcast storms never occur in a ring network.  When a failure occurs this protocol must rapidly reconfigure the network to ensure the process can continue.

For ultra-resilience networks must sometimes tolerate more than one failure. One method of building a resilient network is to use routers that learn paths through networks and rebuild these as the topology adjusts. Unfortunately these protocols like OSPF, RIP and BCP tend to have relatively long reconfiguration times as they were designed more for wide area networks. The automation type data transport protocol  (Modbus, Profinet, EthernetIP) often employed in these networks were originally designed for local networks and tend to flag faults if the recovery time of the network is too slow.

The Solution:

FRNT is a layer-2 network ring protocol that ensuring reconfiguration time less than 20ms in large networks.  FRNT Ring Coupling enables you to connect two FRNT rings, a sub-ring and a super-ring, with multiple layer-2 uplinks. This Ring Coupling functionality ensures that one of the uplinks is always active, while the other is in backup state, thereby providing redundancy and loop-free connectivity.  It is also possible to set priority on the uplinks to ensure the fastest path when different medias are used for the uplinks.

The ring coupling protocol reacts to link loss as well as an echo response from the interconnected switches. The uplinks topology can also be extended to connect rings in a ladder or tree structure.

With FRNT and FRNT Ring coupling protocol it is possible to design a network with multiple rings based on layer-2 technology. This then ensures a resilient network with fast reconfiguration time to all nodes even though multiple network failures occurs.

All are configured with Fast Recovery of Network Topology (FRNT). Westermo's unique FRNT technology is the fastest protocol on the market for providing rapid reconfiguration of your Ethernet networks as a result of link failure or hardware failure. FRNT is similar to Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) for redundancy. However, STP can only provide knowledge of neighboring switches, whereas FRNT can provide knowledge to the entire network on the ring.


Redundant Power

These units are designed to accept two independent power sources, ultimately providing a redundant power source. Ideal for mission critical applications where down time as a result of loss of power is not acceptable.

Transmission Distances Exceed the Standard

Ethernet over copper is limited to a transmission distance of 100 meters (328 feet). Westermo's range of products, go well beyond the standard.

Westermo utilizes Small Form Pluggable (SFP) transceiver slots for the RedFox and Lynx that allows for the addition of single mode, multimode and bi-directional transceivers. Distances of up to 120km can be achieved, expanding the reach of your typical Ethernet specification. The Red Fox can have up to 4 SFPs on two of their models and the Lynx can have up to 2 SFPs.

The Wolverine incorporates a 4 port Ethernet switch with connectivity between units via SHDSL. This Ethernet extender can transmit up to 15km with data rates up to 5.7 Mbit/s at shorter distances.

The DDW-120 can communicate up to 10km over existing or older communication networks using copper cables (no special connections required). Link Fault Forward (LFF) enables the DDW-120 to function in large redundant networks to determine if there has been a media failure.

The ability to communicate over distances that exceed the standard, enable the Westermo products to be utilized in the most demanding of applications:

Safety Critical Railway Control System:

To improve the safety of Poland's railway system, a new safety system that covered 100km of railway line incorporated a chain of 15 Wolverine DDW-220 SHDSL Ethernet Extenders were used to connect a number of traffic control equipment cabinets. A second phase of this safety initiative comprised 15 Wolverine DDW-221 were added alongside the tracks of the Central Rail Bus line. The SHDSL connection of the Wolverine product line can utilize existing wiring, such as twisted pair. (no need to install fiber or radio links when existing cables are available)

Highway Tunnel Emergency System:

A message sign and road barrier system to stop traffic in case of an emergency was developed using the Wolverine DDW-221 SHDSL for the A14 highway that links the Paris business district . There are a total of 8 tunnels throughout this 13km stretch of highway. At each tunnel a road barrier system and sign were developed to stop traffic. The Lynx Ethernet Switches were used to provide a backbone for the Wolverine DDW-221 SHDSL sub-networks. Both products utilize the FRNT redundancy protocol, enabling a redundant system that provides high availability, reliability and safety.

Gas and Energy Distribution:

A large number of gas-substations in Amsertam utilized a total of 280 Wolverine DDW-100 Ethernet Extenders (creating 140 point to point connections to remote locations) communicated up to 12km, were connected to 6 Wolverine DDW-221 SHDSL Ethernet Extenders configured for redundant ring. The requirement of this application was not only to regulate the gas distribution network, but also monitor real-time usage, alarms and flow measurement. This information would enable Alliander to provide better service to its customers while at the same time reducing costs. These units interfaced with the Remote Terminal Unit that generated the information and transmitted the information back using existing cabling from Allianders own telecom and signaling cable network. Through additional testing, Alliander was able to obtain transmission distances of up to 17km. The impact of this project has benefited 2.5 million customers in Amsterdam.


The RedFox Ethernet products offer many approvals relating to environmental conditions, Ethernet technologies, resiliance, IP routing, firewall, manageability, and SNMP / MIB support. A level 3 Ethernet product for the Industrial world. In addition to all these features, Red Fox also includes 256 bit encription.

Galvanic Isolation

You will notice a term frequently used with all Westermo products...galvanic isolation. What does this mean?

Galvanic isolation is the principle of isolating functional sections of electric systems so that charge-carrying particles cannot move from one section to another, i.e. there is no electric current flowing directly from one section to the next. Energy and/or information can still be exchanged between the sections by other means, however, such as by capacitance, induction, electromagnetic waves, optical, acoustic, or mechanical means.

Galvanic isolation is used in situations where two or more electric circuits must communicate, but their grounds may be at different potentials. It is an effective method of breaking ground loops by preventing unwanted current from travelling between two units sharing a ground conductor. Galvanic isolation is also used for safety considerations, preventing accidental current from reaching the ground (the building floor) through a person's body. (Source = Wikipedia)

A lightening strike to your Ethernet switch can cause enormous damage.

Without Galvanic Isolation, all ports on your Ethernet device would be destroyed , including the devices themself.

The answer to this question ultimately answers the next question, why would I need galvanic isolation. It would be similar to having anti-lock brakes on your vehicle. You may never use them, but when you need them, they are there. This is the same with galvanic isolation. You may never use it, but it is there if you ever need it.


The breadth and intelligence of the Ethernet products offered by Westermo have been used in the most demanding of applications where any downtime or loss of information could be critical, even fatal. You will likely find a cheaper product that will do most of what you are looking to accomplish with your Industrial Ethernet network, however, what will the consequences be if...

Can you afford to be without your network?

Westermo also offers wireless Ethernet, 3G and 4G with Ethernet, unmananged Ethernet switches and Ethernet media converters for serial and fiber. All of these products extend the standard Ethernet communications capabilities of 100 meters and can be used in conjunction with the Ethernet switching products listed above. A product table below will take you to other pages in the ESI web site providing product information and downloads.

To learn more, or for a quote, Contact ESI.

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