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LXI products use LAN extension for instrumentation (LXI), a networking platform designed for the management of instruments in industrial environments. LXI is based on Ethernet technology and usable across a local area network (LAN). Suppliers of LXI products are specialized manufacturers of industrial instruments and devices. They design industrial computing products according to technical specifications from the LXI Consortium, a non-profit corporation open to test and measurement companies. Other standards that are associated with LXI products are related to software protocols, hardware requirements, and environmental safety. For example, the IEEE 802.3 standard from the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) describes Industrial Ethernet, a methodology for expanding LAN networking to factory floors in order to increase a plant’s efficiency and promote greater integration.

LXI products can provide a network interface to devices such as sensors, robots, motor controls, and programmable logic controllers (PLCs). Because they are rugged, LXI products can withstand airborne dust, the movement of machinery, and the environmental effects of nearby equipment. In addition, because plant operations are usually repetitive, LXI products can use LXI matrices with LAN networking to maximize processing efficiency. In basic terms, an LXI matrix is an array of switched relays that allow for the interconnection of multiple input and output (I/O) terminals.

LXI switches, LXI multiplexers, LXI digital I/O cards, and LXI networking cards are used in industrial computing. These LXI products can be configured as single units by using dynamic host control protocol (DHCP) to assign internet protocol (IP) addresses, and then managing the LXI product through a Web-based interface. LXI switches can operate in ranges from 1.25 Amps to 40 Amps. LXI multiplexers can run from 1 to 48 channels. LXI digital I/O and networking cards are capable of 32-bit communications across standard instrumentation protocols such as WMI, SNMP, PAL, JMXI, and CIM.