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If you can't see the content, please view the online version here. Aug. 2018

With the rapid development of the industrial network and IOT applications, the need for faster and more reliable networks has arisen. L2 ring network architecture is the foundation for large network structures with the most stability and reliability. It is known that a ring network not only provides a backup mechanism for communication, but also requires a corresponding network protocol to prevent network looping. The best-known redundancy protocols are STP/RSTP (Spanning Tree/Rapid Spanning Tree). These protocols not only prevent network loops but also provide a new communication path in instances of single link or switch node failure.

Redundancy: Make It Right
However, there are still concerns about STP/RSTP regarding communication recovery time, max number of units, difficulty of configuration, and so on. EtherWAN’s Alpha-Ring and Alpha-Chain redundancy technologies deliver certain advantages over the traditional approaches. Below is a comparison chart that breaks down the various features of each protocol.

Protocol STP RSTP Alpha-Ring Redundant Pair Alpha-chain
Max number for single ring 40 32 250 255 250
Recovery time <50sec <6 sec <15ms <50ms <800ms
Flexibility of network design Limited Limited Comprehensive Comprehensive With unmanaged switch or PLC
Configuration Complex Complex Easy Easy Easy
Topology Tree/Ring/Mesh Tree/Ring/Mesh Ring Ring Chain

EtherWAN’s Alpha-Ring redundancy protocol can recover communication within 15 milliseconds of a single network node or link failure. This greatly improves the communication reliability of data transmission. For communication redundancy between two Alpha-Rings, Ring-Coupling and the new generation Redundant Pair technologies allow for a wide range of extended network designs. Once the main path is disconnected, the standby path will be activated immediately.

Alpha-Chain is a redundancy technology in which the network architecture is similar to a daisy chain. The Alpha-Chain can connect a cluster of devices back to a local switch, to a different switch in the same ring, or to another switch in a different ring topology. The Alpha-Chain protocol provides redundancy even when unmanaged switches are used in the chain topology.

These three proprietary technologies reduce the need for redundant network cabling, as well as simplifying network topology planning.

Introduction to Alpha-ring and Ring-Coupling
Introduction to Redundant Pair


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