Fortinet Unveils New Switches, Access Points, and Gateways for Network Security

Fortinet Unveils New Switches, Access Points, and Gateways for Network Security

A wireless gateway for use in vehicle deployments, an access point for hazardous OT environments, and a new industrial Ethernet switch are among the upgrades that Fortinet has unveiled for its operational technology (OT) security platform.

Switching the network for tough outdoor applications

The new FortiSwitch Rugged 424F is intended for use in challenging outdoor settings, particularly in the power utility and digital substation sectors. According to Fortinet, this industrial Ethernet switch interfaces with the FortiGate next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) for access control and security, and it supports real-time OT networking protocols.

“For digital substations, the key requirements are ruggedization: high electrical immunity and fanless operation at extreme temperatures; redundancy protocols for the network MRP [media redundancy protocol], HSR [high-availability seamless redundancy], PRP [parallel redundancy protocol] and protocols to support precise timing — IEEE 1588 PTP [precision time protocol] — for the substation equipment,” Nirav Shah, VP of products and solutions at Fortinet, told SDxCentral in response to questions.

According to the security firm, the switch also has Power over Ethernet (PoE) functionality, which makes it easier to put wireless access points, cameras, and sensors in the network and lowers the total cost of ownership of the network.

Point of access for dangerous online situations

The National Electric Code (NEC), which is used in the United States for the design and installation of electrical equipment in hazardous situations, has standards for Class 1, Division 2 that the new FortiAP 432F Access Point satisfies.

The product is an extension of Fortinet’s IP67-rated access-point line, which is intended to divide apart industrial Wi-Fi networks in order to stop assaults from propagating to unprotected systems and devices and to allow for more deployments in sectors like the oil and gas industry.

“OT customers already deploy FortiAP outdoor models in shop-floor environments. [And] this model and its Class 1, Division 2 requirements for use in hazardous OT environments certifications allow them to extend Wi-Fi access to environments that may have explosive substances present, like oil refineries, pipelines and chemical plants,” Shah said.

AT&T FirstNet criteria are met by the wireless gateway.

The new FortiExtender Vehicle 211F wireless gateway, a semi-ruggedized mobility solution intended for connected fleets, mobile systems, and OT deployments, was also announced by Fortinet.

For a range of mobile applications, the ruggedized wireless WAN extender can provide cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity in a single vehicle-mounted form factor. These use cases include cars used in the travel industry, logistics, public safety, and first responders.

For example, the AT&T First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) wireless communications network’s criteria are met by the FortiExtender Vehicle 211F. FirstNet is a high-speed broadband communications infrastructure that is available nationwide to first responders and the public safety community at large. In a public-private collaboration with FirstNet, AT&T is building it.

“Public safety and first responders can access prioritized, dedicated bandwidth to support their communications needs during critical incidents with the AT&T FirstNet capable device with support for LTE Band 14 network,” said Shah.

The OT security platform from Fortinet

The Fortinet OT Security Platform is a component of its Security Fabric, which consists of more than 50 solutions for networks, endpoints, and clouds and combines its software with hardware operating on proprietary ASICs.

“The Fortinet OT Security Platforms provides industrial-built solutions for network security, zero trust and security operations all supported by AI- [artificial intelligence] powered OT threat intelligence whereas our competitors tend to focus on one area or even one hardware or software solution,” Shah said.

FortiOS, which has been updated with the OT View dashboard to correlate and display important OT data, FortiAnalyzer, which offers OT-specific analytics, risk, and compliance reports, FortiNDR, which can analyze over 15 different OT-network protocols, FortiGuard OT Security Service, which covers over 70 OT protocols and over 4,000 OT application and device vulnerability signatures, and FortiGuard Outbreak Alerts, which provides vital information about OT-specific threats, are among the software OT security services offered by Fortinet.

“Threats to OT, or production or critical infrastructure, can come from the IT network or the OT network. Thus, any security solution needs near real-time threat intelligence from both sides,” Shah said. “Most solution providers have IT threat intelligence, which is critical to protect against malware, like ransomware, that can have an impact on production and critical infrastructure.”

“Likewise, OT threat intelligence which leverages different communication protocols and targets OT devices, is unique and necessary to properly protect OT-specific threats. Thus, both IT and OT threat intelligence are critical to properly protect OT,” he added.


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