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Red Fox Layer 3 Ethernet Switches / Routers from Westermo

A Rugged Industrial Switch, Router and Firewall, All In One Box!!!

The RedFox range of industrial layer 3 switches provides enhanced routing functionality, all in a robust, single unit design. The RedFox offers static routing, VLAN, IPSec VPN support, DMZ and a powerful firewall in order to segregate networks and protect mission-critical data. With support for Network Address Translation (NAT) and port-forwarding, the RedFox ensures your network is protected from the threats posed by the Internet.

For mission critical applications Westermo's unique FRNT technology is the fastest protocol on the market for re-configuring large networks in the event of link or hardware failure. Gbit support on ring as well as drop ports along with bandwidth control techniques like VLANs and IGMP snooping allow RedFox to be optimised to perform with even the most bandwidth hungry applications such as video.

Advanced routing functions and firewall settings allow the RedFox switches to segregate networks and ensure that mission critical industrial networks are protected. The RedFox is also able to provide secure remote access to these networks across insecure connections by acting as a VPN endpoint.

RedFox is a key component within Westermo’s Edge Network Solutions, which transfer vital data from the edge of data networks where environmental conditions are harsh, back to the core of companies’ business systems. By combining Westermo’s WeOS network operating software and network tools, with RedFox and other industrial networking hardware, Westermo is able to provide resilient and robust solutions for any mission critical network. RedFox industrial Ethernet switch range is now fully certified for use in hazardous areas. ATEX/IECEx certification by BASEEFA enables these robust Layer 3 switches to be installed in potentially explosive atmospheres typically found in oil and chemical processing plants, sewage treatment and gas distribution centres, sugar refineries and grain handling locations.

Westermo has introduced 4 new units with layer 2 functionality thus providing the RedFox brand at a lower price point where layer 3 functionality is not required. All units incorporate more Gigabit ports than previous generations for faster communictions, offering better connectivity. All models run Westermo's powerful WeOS Operating System.

Layer 2 Red Fox Switches  
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


The History of the RedFox Ethernet Switch

The History of the RedFox Ethernet Switch

RedFox industrial is an off the shelf product, but its architecture and firmware are tried and tested in some of the toughest environments imaginable. The RedFox concept has already been used on board trains, in military vehicles, on aircraft and on the seabed. No ordinary switch could have been used in these applications.

High Altitude Airliner Testing

Modern airliners have to undergo rigorous testing prior to delivery and use by the airlines to transport passengers.

Test data must be collected and stored on thousands of hours of test flights in order to verify that the aircraft is safe to use. The Boeing Corporation selected Ethernet as the high speed network to allow all this data to be collected during its development of the 787 Dreamliner.

To be used in this application Redfox had to be tested to RTCA DO-160E - "Environmental Conditions and Test Procedures for Airborne Equipment" and D6-16050-5 Rev B - "Electromagnetic Interference Control Requirements for composite Airplanes". These tests meant that the switch had to operate up to altitudes of 16000 m and meet comprehensive vibration specifications.

Ocean Floor Monitoring

When Cameron Subsea required an Ethernet switch that could be built into its subseacontrol modules the RedFox was the best solution.

The modules were there to control and monitor seabed pumps used for extracting oil and gas at depths of up to 3000 m. The biggest area of concern for a switch in this environment was vibration and RedFox had already been proven to meet the highest specifications. Another advantage that RedFox offered was that it could be configured with fibre ports allowing communications over 80 km and also support redundant protocols. Both points critical with the remoteness of the installations.

The Ethernet Train

Regional trains in Germany and the Netherlands are currently being delivered by Bombardier with an on board Ethernet network. This is the world's first example of Ethernet being used for train control data management. Train control has traditionally been via a TCN (Train Control Network) however using Ethernet for this network will reduce cost and increase functionality. For this innovation, Bombardier has chosen Westermo's RedFox railway switches. 400 units have been supplied for the first projects.

Up to now, Ethernet has been used on board trains only for CCTV (Close Circuit Television), passenger information systems and entertainment. Traditionally different train subsystems used dedicated networks. For train operation, a railway-specific network called TCN was used. Bombardier Transportation has developed a new system where Ethernet now manages all of the train's on board equipment. In the first projects, the old and new networks - Ethernet rings and TCN - will coexist, but Ethernet will fully replace the TCN in two or three years. The Bombardier Transportation system will be the first to integrate all the intelligent devices onboard into one Ethernet network. The first train projects without any TCN - relying solely on Ethernet networks - are already in the design phase.

For the regional trains already operational in Germany and the Netherlands, the Ethernet network is able to determine the composition of a train e.g. what kind of coaches constitute the train, in which order they are coupled together, and in what direction they run (to be able to open the correct set of doors, etc) while the TCN is still used for some local subsystems.

"We have a project where the TCN will be kept only for localised subsystems whereas train-wide communication will be carried out on the ETB (Ethernet Backbone). This is the next step on the way to a totally Ethernet train. The network will ultimately carry all the data needed for train operation, surveillance and passenger information. All systems except signalling and Internet access will be managed through this Ethernet network." Says Klas Englund, TCMS Product Manager at Bombardier Transportation Sweden.

There are between 2 and 4 switches in each carriage and up to 8 carriages making up a complete train. To this point over 400 switches have been delivered. The advantage of using Ethernet switches is that there is no limit to how many can be cascaded down the length of the train ensuring that no consideration ever needs to be made to the length of the network.

Reduced costs and greater flexibility were the two main reasons to use Ethernet networks on board trains. Hardened Ethernet solutions already existed offering the high bandwidth required for audio and video services at a reasonable cost whereas a new rail-specific network would have been expensive.

"There were many candidates for cooperation on this product that will probably become the new train standard. The main reasons for selecting Westermo were, firstly, that they had an interesting and promising concept with their RedFox product line which could serve as a platform for implementation of our add-on functionality. Together we saw the possibility for adaptation to our needs and the integration of own software functions into the products. Westermo also demonstrated an open mind about the way to cooperate, and a strong involvement in customisation for rail needs." Adds Mr Englund.

A new front panel was developed by Westermo with M12 connectors. Adjustments have also been made to meet the railway specific standards regarding EMC (Electromagnetic Compatibility) EN50155 and other environmental requirements. On Bombardier's side, engineers have developed a custom application that has been integrated into the switches.

FRNT Network Redundancy

Westermo's unique FRNT (Fast Recovery of Network Topology) technology is the fastest network recovery protocol on the market. FRNT is able to reconfigure a redundant ring network consisting of up to 200 switches within 20 ms of the initial failure, regardless of network load. FRNT is a protocol supported by other Westermo switches like the Lynx, Wolverine and Viper series meaning that different types of Westermo switch can be configured in the ring.

To provide compatibility with industry standard redundancy protocols the RedFox also supports STP and RSTP.

IGMP (Internet Group Management Protocol)

Multicast data packets are the perfect way to transmit data to multiple 'consumers' on a network. If for instance fifty users wish to view a video feed it would congest a network completely if every data frame had to be sent fifty times. A single multicast packet is all that is transmitted by the data 'producer'.

The problem however with multicast packets is that by definition they must be made available to all parts of a network in case they are required. To allow multicasting to work in an Ethernet network, switches have to stop acting as switches and pass the data to all ports. This becomes a huge problem if there are low speed data connections in your network as these can become flooded with potentially unwanted traffic.

IGMP Snooping is a method that actually 'snoops' or inspects IGMP traffic. The protocol will only enable multicast streams to switch ports that have requested to 'join' the feed. In this way switches can control multicast data on networks. When using IGMP snooping in conjunction with redundancy protocols problems can occur when a network reconfigures. The network topology change by definition means that the IGMP data paths change. It is for this reason that Westermo have closely integrated our IGMP solution with FRNT to ensure that these delays do not occur.

VLAN (Virtual LAN)

RedFox features comprehensive VLAN support. This technique allows a large physical switched network to be divided into smaller more manageable logical networks or VLANs.
This has a number of benefits including increased security, increased network bandwidth and improved manageability.

Redfox allows VLANs to be allocated to particular switch ports meaning that access to certain network services can be restricted. This can be beneficial for security purposes but also it allows certain high bandwidth protocols to be isolated from the rest of the network.

By subdividing the physical network into VLANs broadcast traffic can be controlled within separate networks thus preventing broadcast storms affecting the whole network.

As VLANs can be centrally configured it is possible for a network manager to reconfigure a badly performing network centrally rather than having to physically plug and unplug cables out in the field.

Real-Time Ethernet

Ethernet through its design is not deterministic, i.e. you cannot guarantee the transfer time of a data packet from one occasion to another. A switched network is subject to delays, which can vary from 10 ms to several ms due to the load, speed of the drop link, packet size, switch architecture and the number of switches between the server and client.
This previously made it impossible to use Ethernet for real time applications, such as motion control or highly complex industrial processes. These applications are now within the scope of Redfox.

Prioritization (QoS, Quality of Service)

RedFox contains four priority queues per port, where the queue handling is based on strict priority scheduling in order to offer maximum determinism for real time critical and latency sensitive data. This means that high priority data always has preference over low priority data. Priority is accomplished through layer 2 tagging based on IEEE802.1p and/or layer 3 based on IP ToS.

Head of Line blocking prevention

Head of line blocking prevention ensures that the switch does not become congested due to bottlenecks on a port caused by a highly loaded network. This can be the case when large amounts of multicast and broadcast traffic exist on a high speed part of the network. Low speed ports are unable to transmit the data fast enough to clear their buffer.

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