Man working on a server

Did you know the lifespan of a physical network infrastructure is on average three times longer than a manufacturing software and two times longer than a network switch? 

Because of this expanded lifespan, it’s critical that your physical network infrastructure be able to support both current and future technologies, applications and processes. When the infrastructure is fully integrated and connected, it will be viable for a longer period of time and more efficiently support moves, adds and changes, thus reducing your downtime and increasing revenue.

Unfortunately, many businesses don’t take this proactive, forward-thinking approach today when developing their physical network infrastructure. As a result, they often find themselves in a position where they cannot implement IoT solutions because their infrastructure is not IoT ready. 

Case in point: Half of the overall project cost for IoT deployment today is associated with upgrading the network platform and controls, according to a Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association presentation1.   

When designing a physical network infrastructure, think of it as a living ecosystem. It’s comprised of smart connected devices that must be able to interact with each other and with the rest of the environment.

Creating this ecosystem requires collaboratively working with your colleagues, business partners, distributors, industry standard bodies and suppliers.

You can begin your ecosystem approach by assessing where you are in the journey to an IoT-ready physical network infrastructure. Using the Manufacturing Network Fabric Maturity Model, manufacturers can shift their industrial networks away from focusing solely on the organizational silos of the plant automation system to a more holistic focus on mission, vision, and overall business outcomes.

The model can help outline a deployment plan for the solution and verify that it will be supportable and sustainable for the long term. 

To learn more about how to create a unified physical network infrastructure, register for the Industrial IP Advantage webinar “Five Tips for Physical Network Design & Deployment Success.”

You also can learn more about critical network design considerations with the Industrial IP Advantage eLearning courses.

1 MESA Published on Sep 3, 2014

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