August 2005
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Contemporary Controls Provides Enhanced Performance for EtherNet/IPÔ and Other Control Networks

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Downers Grove, Illinois - Contemporary Controls’ managed Ethernet switches will now provide new features that greatly enhance their performance in industrial networks such as EtherNet/IP according to Bennet Levine, R& D Manager for Contemporary Controls. “These features are IGMP snooping, rate limiting, port security, and Quality of Service (QoS) enhancements known as Diffserv, IEEE 802.1p and TOS,” says he.

By definition, IGMP snooping is the ability of a switch to observe Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) traffic in order to learn IP Multicast group membership for the purpose of restricting multicast transmissions to only those ports which have requested them. Levine says IGMP snooping is significant in large EtherNet/IP networks. “EtherNet/IP devices utilize multicast messages for their real-time data. But on a switch that doesn’t support IGMP snooping, these multicast messages will be handled like broadcast messages and potentially overwhelm some end-devices. Some devices may be unable to perform their normal activities when they receive a large amount of unwanted multicast traffic.”

Rate limiting can be used to restrict certain devices (or groups of devices connected to a port on the switch) from consuming too much network bandwidth. “Rate limiting also allows broadcast storm protection.”

When port security is enabled, the switch will only pass traffic sent by specific devices. The MAC addresses of the devices, which can communicate through the switch, can be entered via the console port or via a web page. This feature can be enabled on a port-by-port basis. “This feature is beneficial if extra security is required on specific ports of the switch,” says Levine. “For example, if you wanted to only allow specific computers on the office network to be able to communicate with the factory network, you could enable port security on the switch port which connects to the office network.”  Levine further adds that QoS enhancements allow specific ports or specific messages to have a higher priority when communicating through the company’s managed switch.

These features will be available on the EICP_M, EISX_M and EISB_M products the end of July. For current owners of these products a software update will be made available. For software updates or more information, please contact Bennet Levine at blevine@ccontrols.com.

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