The selection of commercial or industrial Ethernet network products should be based on the environment. In a controlled environment like office condition, commercial-grade is acceptable. In hot, humid, vibration-prone, electrically noisy environments, industrial-grade is required. Managed or unmanaged switches can be used, but managed switches provide the capability to speed troubleshooting and repair.
The specifications of Industrial Ethernet products (temperature, shock, vibration , immunity...etc.) exceed harsh and industrial operating environment. Most commercial Ethernet products have commercial temperature ratings (0-40C), and do not publish environmental specs. Industrial Ethernet are designed for operation at -10 to 60C or -40 to 75C or even -40 to 85C , and have excellent environmental tolerance specification.
Furthermore, Industrial Ethernet switches have rugged enclosures using Din-Rail or Panel Mounting . Most commercial Ethernet equipments cannot be installed easily inside equipment enclosures. Most industrial Ethernet equipment’s have redundant power input. Commercial grade normally have a single power supply input. This assures maximum uptime.
Commercial Ethernet has been available in the office environment long before industrial Ethernet. In many harsh and industrial environment cases, customers only implemented commercial-grade Ethernet equipments because they were not aware that industrial grade equipments was available. Therefore, they may implement commercial networking to
1. Build Climate-controlled environments using commercial grade Ethernet in harsh and industrial working areas (which is very costly)
2. Connect all devices to a Climate-controlled environment using commercial-grade equipment (which is very costly and affect reliability)
3. Simply use commercial Ethernet regardless of harsh and industrial environment (which will fail in the future or affect reliability)