Belden and Dexter supply breakthrough redundant Industrial Ethernet and WLAN network for oil refinery

Belden has created a breakthrough solution for an oil refinery using Parallel Redundancy Protocol (PRP) over WLAN and Ethernet. PRP provides zero downtime, while remote access and mobile monitoring capability has been provided with SNMP and PROFINET IO diagnostics.

Our partner in the development was Dexter System Solutions, an operations and solutions integrator for the industrial process industry. Dexter has built a global reputation by producing mission critical networking solutions for the oil and gas industry, within a wide array of hazardous environments according to the latest safety requirements.


We were asked to provide a redundant Industrial Ethernet and WLAN network according to IEC 61850 specification, for an oil refinery location operated by one of the world’s largest petrochemical companies.

Requirements for the system were numerous and demanding. Stable and reliable wireless links were needed because video signals being transmitted required high bandwidth. A transmission rate of 450 Mbps was called for, in accordance with IEEE 802.11n for WLAN networks. In addition, the equipment has to conform to the EN 60950 standard on safety for information technology equipment. It also needs to operate at temperatures anywhere from -40°C to +70°C. The application demands high-availability Ethernet in accordance with the IEC 62439 standard. Furthermore, it requires explosion-proof certifications (UL, ATEX Zone 2) and shipboard approvals (ABS and DNV) and a high level of industrial security is required.

In the solution delivered by the two companies, adjacent redundant fiber optic rings support PRP over two separate networks—an industrial WLAN (OpenBAT-F) and an Industrial Ethernet network (RS40). Each network is managed centrally via its own Hirschmann™ MACH1040 devoted Layer 2 industrial 19-inch workgroup switch. The networks are connected centrally to the plant control room and managed by Hirschmann™’s MACH4000 Layer 3 industrial backbone switch. Industrial security is provided with the EAGLE30 firewall that segments each independent network from the control room. Because BAT devices with Atex Zone 2 certification do not require external housing, they are lightweight and easy to mount.

Belden and Dexter System Solutions were able to meet the customer’s wireless and Ethernet network demands with a minimalist solution that surpassed the competition in redundancy features, technical capability and overall cost-effectiveness. The Belden solution also provided the customer with access to network design and integration support.