Three networking solutions for remote HVAC control

Here's how industrial switches, media converters, and wireless Ethernet extenders enable one person to oversee the HVAC systems of several buildings in a large apartment complex.

In this scenario, a community of apartment buildings is spread out over a five-acre campus. Each has its own boiler room in the basement to house its heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment. The housing complex, while large, employs only one facilities contractor to look after the heating and cooling system. During an update of the HVAC system, the contractor wanted to make it possible for the entire system to be controlled from one central location.

1. Industrial Ethernet switches Unlike the Ethernet switches in a wiring closet or computer center, Ethernet switches in harsh environments have to endure humidity, and temperature fluctuations. In this building automation application, Industrial Managed Gigabit Switches are used in the boiler rooms to connect and monitor the HVAC system. Encased in IP30-rated metal cases, the switches withstand extreme temperatures ranging from -40°C to +70°C and are protected from dirt and moisture. The switches also operate in a ring topology simplifying wiring and providing instantaneous failovers in case of a link break.

2. Industrial media converters Copper cable connects the switches to the boilers, hot water tanks, HVAC, and other equipment. But a fiber backbone is used in the buildings for the range it provides and for its immunity to EMI/RFI from elevators, motors, and other building infrastructure. To make the connections, Industrial Media Converters are used to convert copper to fiber and back to copper again.

3. Wireless Ethernet extenders To connect the Ethernet networks between the multiple apartment buildings, Wireless Ethernet Extenders are used to eliminate the cost and hassle of trenching new fiber cable between buildings. More industrial media converters are used to convert the fiber backbone to copper on each rooftop.

Each Ethernet Extender is mounted on a pole on the roof of each building, creating a “hub and spoke” arrangement, with the “hub” residing on the roof of the control room building. The configuration is simple, as the extenders are pre-configured to work with each other. Their tough, waterproof enclosures make them ideal for outdoor use.

Total control from one location. The network provides visibility into all four buildings, enabling the facilities contractor to monitor and control the entire HVAC system via IP.

Cables Industrial Networking Managed Switches Media Converters TPS Wireless
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