What is a hardened switch?

what is a hardened switch

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Are you thinking about implementing PoE technology? First, learn about it. How exactly does PoE work, what different IEEE 802.3 standards, and what criteria for its working in the system? Being advanced technology, PoE is part of our commercial as well as industrial areas. PoE switches are of a wide variety working in specific zones depending on their conditions.

For example, you want to apply PoE switches in your office. Just have a look at the different types of PoE switches.

  • Managed
  • Unmanaged
  • Hybrid

You can read our article— Which type of PoE switch should I buy?

If we talk about industrial switches, nothing is better than a hardened switch out there. It can withstand the fluctuating conditions in the industrial zone to better cope with complex scenarios. Let’s have a detailed overview of what precisely a hardened switch is.

What is a hardened switch?

Have you been to industrial areas? Maybe not, if you haven’t worked there or visited for some research purposes. However, if you have ever gone out there, you might have observed switches present there. What do you expect which type of switch they use? Let me tell you which type of switches they harness for the Power Supply.

Hardened switches are a type of network switch that offers high stability and power supply. Industrial switches are usually hardened switches that use different PoE 802.3 standards depending on their needs. For example, for high power up to 95W, hardened switches utilize the PoE 802.3bt standard. So, power needs and data connections determine the type of standard for specific hardened PoE switches.

You know, why do we call industrial switches “hardened switches?” Because they withstand the harsh conditions available in industrial areas. Let’s deep dive into this topic to make the choices better regarding PoE technology and hardened switches.

At Howevision, you can find different port switches— 24 ports, 20 ports, and 16 ports.

What are the main features of hardened PoE switches?

I mentioned “Harsh environment.” What do you understand about this environment? If you visit industrial regions, you can perceive rapid fluctuations in temperature and moisture. We employ hardened PoE switches working on IEEE 802.3 standards to make the whole system stable over the power supply. Here are some peculiar features of hardened PoE switches that differentiate them from others.

  • DIN rails mounting such as 240 Watt Industrial DIN rail power supply.
  • The operating temperature ranges from –40 degrees Celsius to +75 degrees Celsius. It is more suitable for extreme conditions of temperature in industrial areas.
  • Offers convection cooling options for industrial situations with limited ingress points.
  • Network Management Method with the help of Telnet remote access. Moreover, it procures SNMP agent and TFTP software upgrade capability.
  • PoE IEEE 802.3af/at/bt standards technology to make it suitable for high and low-power devices.

How can we differentiate hardened switches from Commercial Switches?

Commercial PoE switches are different from hardened PoE switches in many aspects. For example, their structure, security, and applications are pretty distinct. Here is how exactly we can differentiate the hardened PoE switches from the commercial switches.

Mounting Options:

There are different mounting options for both types of switches. Commercial switches employ rackmount. However, hardened switches use DIN(Deutsche Institut fur Normung) rails.

Operating Temperature:

As I already mentioned, hardened switches are the best fit for the fluctuating temperatures in industrial areas. Hardened switches can work in between —40 degrees Celsius to +75 degrees Celsius efficiently. Compared to it, commercial PoE switches operate between 0 degrees Celsius and 40 degrees Celsius.


The cooling mechanism varies for each type of switch. For instance, commercial switches do fan cooling with vents and holes. At the same time, hardened switches produce conventional cooling with limited ingress points. The cooling mechanism decreases the effective heat dissipation for saving energy.

Power Input:

Commercial switches work on AC input. Compared to it, hardened switches operate on DC input.


Commercial switch design relies on a single backup supply, while industrial switches have dual power backups to run the system efficiently.


Commercial switches are part of our retail packaging and other activities out there in a commercial zone. If we talk about the hardened switches, they offer pretty different applications. For example, they withstand variations in temperature, vibrations, shocks, and dirt conditions in the industrial zone.

Applications of Hardened Switches:

Due to working capacity in fluctuating temperature conditions, Hardened switches are part of our industrial areas. These employ different IEEE 802.3 standards to provide high-speed data connection up to 1 gigabyte and a high power supply of up to 95 watts. Here are the top applications of Hardened PoE switches.

  • Wayside control systems such as communication-based wayside control
  • Buses and self-driving trucks
  • Security and surveillance purposes
  • Automated guided vehicles
  • Oil and Gas drilling industrial zones
  • Factory automation

There can be other uses, but these are popular uses of hardened switches valid for industrial zones.

How do we secure Hardened switches?

Industrial switches supply power to multiple devices at a time. A cyber attack can shut down all your devices and cause various problems. To make your system secure, you must implement different security techniques. Hardened switches utilize other security protocols to protect your whole system and keep malware away from your devices. Here are security protocols.

IEEE 802.1X:

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers(IEEE) developed the networking protocol to make the system secure. IEEE 802.1 network protocol enhances defense by authentication when a device tries to attach to a Local Area Network(LAN).


Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS) is another mechanism to improve the protection of hardened switches. It authenticates, authorizes, and manages the network of devices that connect to the network. In actuality, it works on the mechanism of centralized authentication.


Terminal Access Controller Access-Control System Plus(TACACS+) offers granular control. It can encrypt the entire content of the given device. So, hardened switches might utilize this mechanism to make their immunity better.


Might you have heard of SSL certificates? Secure Sockets Layers make your internet connection safe and ensure the safety of data between two devices.


Enterprises and large data centers employ socket-shell security in their hardened switches. Consider it like a software program that guarantees system administration and data transfer.

What are the advantages of Hardened switches?

Hardened PoE switches have numerous applications in industrial regions and are more secure. Here is why you should consider them as a perfect replacement for your industrial switches.

  • Work in extreme environmental conditions of temperature between —40 degrees to +75 degrees Celsius.
  • Provide secure data connection with different security mechanisms like RADIUS, SSL, SSH, or IEEE 802.1 network protocol.
  • Automatically detect the power of the device to provide the power supply. Therefore, we utilize POE IEEE 802.3af/at/bt standards to effectively supply each device.
  • PoE schedule— It ensures the activation of the PoE system in specific conditions.
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Hi, I'm Mr. Hua, The funder of HoweVision technology, I'v been woking industrial communication equipment for 8 years now, and the purpose of this article is to share with you the knowledge related to industrial communication from a China supplier's perspective.

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