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Industrial cellular routers enable secure access to remote assets

Ultra-compact and rugged wireless routers enhance connectivity to remotely located equipment and systems in demanding utility, infrastructure and transportation applications

Westermo has expanded its range of industrial cellular routers designed to provide resilient data communications for remote sites. The new Merlin 4400 series of ultra-compact and rugged LTE Cat 4 wireless routers has been developed specifically to support extremely secure remote access to equipment and systems within demanding utility, industrial and trackside applications. High connection security gives users the confidence to expand their IP networks to include remote assets, helping to increase visibility and ultimately improve operational performance.

Resilient and reliable high-speed data communications are essential to the digitisation of the rail network, the implementation of smart grids and improving the operational performance of utilities. Network security is a fundamental requirement in these applications and to defend against increasing cyber threats, the Merlin 4400 series is equipped with a complete set of cybersecurity tools as standard. These include a TPM (trusted platform module) chip that keeps cryptographic keys secure, Secure Boot functionality ensuring the routers boot using only trusted software, and virtual private network (VPN) and stateful firewall support for data security and user authentication.

The Merlin 4400 series offers high-speed data network connectivity, with support for Ethernet and RS-232/485 communications to ensure suitability for a broad range of applications. The Merlin 4400 is ideally suited to replace traditional modems when migrating to an IP infrastructure. Serial (RS-232/485) ports enable connection to legacy devices and equipment, while a built-in industrial protocol gateway enables seamless connection to multiple devices using different communication protocols.

With many applications typically requiring installation in demanding environments, the Merlin series has been designed to cope with extreme operating temperatures and high levels of electrical magnetic interference. The Merlin 4400 series has IEC 61850-3 Class 1 approval, allowing deployment in medium voltage substation automation applications, while EN 50121-4 approval enables use in rail trackside applications. Outstanding reliability and an extremely long operating life (mean time between failures of 1,600,000 hours) helps to minimise expensive maintenance trips and lowers network operating costs.

With networks increasing in size and complexity, the Merlin range has been designed to support both the system integrator and user by being easier to install, operate and maintain. When coupled with Westermo’s zero touch deployment software Activator, the Merlin routers provide cost-effective, reliable and consistent onboarding within large-scale projects. This allows configuration from a central server, which reduces the potential for errors and saves considerable time.

“The increasing need to gain access to remote sites for monitoring, management, diagnostics and support creates a greater reliance on the availability of reliable and secure data networks,” explained Dermot Mannion, product manager, Westermo. “The Merlin 4400 range of cellular wireless products meet this requirement, supporting the most demanding industry applications, while providing the advanced functionality needed to maximise connectivity and reduce installation time without affecting security.”

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