Cisco boosts IoT server for rugged use at utilities and other industries

Cisco announced a new ruggedized Catalyst switch for industrial edge uses at utilities, railways, oil and gas facilities and for deployment in highway traffic flow and safety operations.

The new rack mountable Catalyst Industrial Ethernet 9300 switch builds on Cisco’s Catalyst 9000 series switches now used in multiple applications including smart buildings and other industries.

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The difference with the new IE9300 announced Thursday is mainly around resilience for rugged outdoor applications where reliability, security and scalability are still needed, Cisco said. IE9300 is based on Unified Access Data Plane ASIC silicon chips, and Cisco claimed it is most  feature rich industrial switch on the market. It runs the Cisco IOS-XE operating system with Identity Services Engine security.

The move comes as more industrial users are combining operational technology with information technology. IT staffers will be able to stack up to eight switches and manage them as one. Managers will be able to see networked endpoints and monitor network health. An embedded Cisco Cyber Vision sensor and SD-Access fabric edge capability make it the first switch that enables zero-trust security industrial environments, Cisco claimed.

Technology services provider WWT said the new IE9300 adheres to IEC 61850 networking standards and will help utilities modernize the power grid with substation upgrades.

Schneider Electric said via a statement that the IE9300 will provide fiber scale for electric grid networks and when combined with uninterruptible power supplies will elevate electric grid reliability.

Vikas Butaney, general manager of Cisco IoT, described the IE9300’s promise for various industry sectors in a blog. Railways will be able to aggregate traffic from trackside sensors and IoT systems to connect the data to control centers for remote monitoring and maintenance, for example. The capabilities are similar for networks across utilities, roadways and oil and gas pipelines.

Cisco will hold a unified networking event on Jan. 25 at 8 a.m. PST. Registration is required.

  Orders for IE 9300 begin in February and pricing will align with other Cisco rackmount industrial switches, the company said.