Thursday, 11 August 2011 13:01

Belden adds new 7.0 software platform to its Hirschmannâ„¢ product series

By Wendy McWilliams

Range of functions identical to backbone systems in office sector; sets new standards for Industrial Ethernet

Belden has announced release 7.0 of its software platform from its Hirschmannâ„¢ product series, used in the MACH 100, 1000 and 4000, MICE, RS, RSR and OCTOPUS families of managed switches from Hirschmann.

As a world leader in industrial automation solutions, Hirschmann has the widest portfolio of switches in the industry, which are applied in key vertical markets including machine building, oil and gas, public transport, traffic control, alternative power generation, power transmission and distribution, data centres, professional broadcast and audio/video, safety and security, and enterprise.

Like previous versions, the latest release of this software platform offers a range of functions normally only found in backbone systems for the office area. These include comprehensive management, diagnosis and filter functions plus various redundancy methods, security mechanisms and real time applications.

In addition to DVMRP and PIM-DM, the new PIM-SM multicast protocol is provided for Layer 3, enabling optimum utilisation of bandwidth. The configuration, security and service functions have also been further enhanced.

Thanks to this latest software update, it is now possible to create configurations offline, without any active connection to the switches. These can be stored locally and copied to the devices later on. In addition, Hirschmann's ARC protocol makes it possible to configure an MRP ring automatically, enhancing the speed and reliability of this process. Only one switch must be modified in order to completely configure all others in the ring. All settings are then automatically stored on every switch.

Using IEEE802.1x multi-client authentication, several users can be authenticated on the same switch port. Blocked users can be automatically added to a "guest VLAN" that only has restricted usage rights. In addition, ports which have faulty electrical or optical connections can be automatically deactivated in order to ensure the stability of the network.

Over and above this, the new software platform also provides additional service functions for IP telephony. LLDP for media endpoint devices (LLDP-MED) permits automatic assignment of network rules. The incorporation of IP phones into a Voice VLAN is also automatic, so ensuring uniform voice quality.

"With release 7.0 of its tried-and-tested software platform for managed switches in the MACH, MICE, Rail and Octopus families from Hirschmann, Belden is setting new standards for Industrial Ethernet," said Adam Callender, outbound marketing director Asia Pacific for Belden.

"Not only does it offer by far the largest range of standard features for the automation area, this release also provides a whole series of special functions. The ARC-protocol, for example, enables automatic configuration of a complete MRP ring. And this means that installation is simpler, faster and even more reliable."

Glossary (sourced from Wikipedia)

DVMRP: Distance Vector Multicast Routing Protocol is used to share information between routers to facilitate the transportation of IP Multicast packets among networks. It forms the basis of the Internet's multicast backbone.

PIM-SM: Protocol Independent Multicast-Sparse-Mode is a protocol for efficiently routing Internet Protocol (IP) packets to multicast groups that may span wide-area and inter-domain internets. The protocol is named protocol-independent because it is not dependent on any particular unicast routing protocol for topology discovery, and sparse-mode because it is suitable for groups where a very low percentage of the nodes (and their routers) will subscribe to the multicast session. Unlike earlier dense-mode multicast routing protocols such as DVMRP and dense multicast routing which flooded packets across the network and then pruned off branches where there were no receivers, PIM-SM explicitly constructs a tree from each sender to the receivers in the multicast group.

PIM-DM: PIM Dense Mode is the mode of Protocol Independent Multicast which assumes that almost all receivers receive this packet stream.

ARC Protocol: Hirschmann's proprietary Advanced Ring Configuration protocol that automatically configures Hirschmann's ring network.

MRP ring: IEC Media Redundancy Protocol, a fast and robust standards-based recovery protocol.

LLDP: The Link Layer Discovery Protocol is a vendor-neutral Link Layer protocol in the Internet Protocol Suite used by network devices for advertising their identity, capabilities, and neighbors on a IEEE 802 local area network, principally wired Ethernet. The protocol is formally referred to by the IEEE as Station and Media Access Control Connectivity Discovery specified in standards document IEEE 802.1AB.

LLDP-MED: Media Endpoint Discovery is an enhancement of LLDP.


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