Operational Technologies (OT) Benefit from SD-WAN
OT industries such as factories, utilities, and transportation have all embraced digital transformation, bringing their physical processes under the scrutiny of digital sensors and controllers. These new networked control systems bring many benefits, such as productivity, flexibility, and efficiency to the process being monitored, managed, and optimized. Many of these systems connect to remote monitoring locations or cloud-based platforms for analysis of the data. All of this new connectedness is easy to maintain in cities and populated areas, but for remote locations, it is difficult and expensive to maintain reliable connectivity. Harsh environmental conditions ranging from temperature, vibration, or electromagnetic interference can damage ICT gear designed for deployment in data centers. These environments need rugged gear to provide the connectivity and security they require.
Fortinet rugged next-generation firewalls combine the networking benefit of industry-leading SD-WAN and the security benefit of an industry-leading next-generation firewall (NGFW) in a single appliance that can withstand these harsh environments. Rugged FortiGate Firewalls enable asset owners to extend the benefits of digitization out to the edges of their distributed operations. A compact design with options for source power and integrated LTE connectivity increases the possibilities of where and how these devices can be deployed. Additionally, management tools simplify the deployment and management of these appliances.
What is SD-WAN?
SD-WAN is a wide area network (WAN) technology that enables reliable connectivity using both multiple internet connections as well as a traffic processing for error correction. In utilizing multiple internet connections, SD-WAN intelligently selects the path to match the performance needed for a particular application. This means that an SD-WAN appliance has the visibility to both the applications traversing the WAN links, as well as the performance of those links to appropriately steer traffic to the best link. The result is a reliable connection that can be delivered over lower cost link technologies.
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What is a Rugged Device?
Rugged devices are designed for operation in locations that are not environmentally controlled. Most networking and security equipment is designed to operate in environmentally controlled areas, such as an air-conditioned data center. However, some locations that require security and connectivity simply don’t have the means to provide those types of environments. Environmental considerations for rugged devices include:
- Extended temperatures. Rugged gear might need to operate on an oil platform in the North Sea or an electrical substation in Arizona without the benefit of external heating or cooling. For that reason, it is designed to operate in temperatures ranging from 167 degrees F (75 degrees C) to -40 degrees F (-40 degrees C).
- Vibration. Rugged gear might need to be installed on a factory floor that includes heavy machinery that creates strong vibrations. If not designed appropriately, networking and security gear can literally be shaken to pieces. Rugged gear is designed to withstand such vibrations.
- Electromagnetic Interference. Most environments do not have significant amounts of electromagnetic interference, but some industrial environments can generate significant and strong magnetic fields that affect the operation of digital equipment. Rugged equipment is designed with the proper shielding to enable safe operation in such difficult environments.
Learn more about SD-WAN for Operational Technology (OT)