Black Box Explains...Industrial Ethernet (Ethernet/IP) and IP-rated connectors
Ethernet technology is coming to the factory floor. Once limited to office environments, Ethernet has proven to be a robust alternative to the RS-232 interface traditionally used with industrial devices such as programmable logic controllers. Ethernet brings speed, versatility, and cost savings to industrial environments.
The requirements of industrial environments are different than offices, so there are industrial Ethernet standards. The most common is the Ethernet/Industrial Protocol (Ethernet/IP) standard, usually called Industrial Ethernet. Industrial Ethernet adapts ordinary, off-the-shelf IEEE 802.3 Ethernet communication chips and physical media to industrial applications.
The Ingress Protection (IP) ratings developed by the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) specify the environmental protection an enclosure provides.
An IP rating consists of two or three numbers. The first number refers to protection from solid objects or materials; the second number refers to protection from liquids; and the third number, commonly omitted from the rating, refers to protection against mechanical impacts. An IP67 rating means that a connector is totally protected from dust and from the effects of immersion in 5.9 inches (15 cm) to 3.2 feet (1 m) of water for 30 minutes.
Because office-grade RJ-45 connectors do not stand up to an industrial environment, the Ethernet/IP standard calls for sealed industrial RJ-45 connectors that meet an IP67 standard, meaning the connectors are sealed against dust and water.