Ethernet network on Austal Ships



Austal Ships is one of the world‘s largest builders of fast ferries. Based in Western Australia, Austal‘s modern shipyard is situated on the Jervoise Bay waterfront in Henderson, 8 km south of the port city of Fremantle.

Austal‘s purpose built facilities feature over 20,000 square metres of under cover production space with fully enclosed shipbuilding halls, allowing the simultaneous construction of two 100 metre vessels and four 40 metre vessels.



Austal Ships is acting in a very competitive market, retaining their technical advantage. As Austal supplies fast ferries and ships to leading international operators , they need to be able to service ships remotely. A high speed network due to the amount of data being monitored and controlled is required. Since the Ethernet network is used as the main communication backbone of the vital control systems and operations of the ferries and luxury yachts, all products must be certified by Germanischer Lloyd. Hirschmann™ range of Rail Family products, including the RS2-FX/FX switch and the MICE product are Germanischer Lloyd approved.

Project parameters

  • Ethernet network: Fiber optic 100 Mbps
  • Field bus: Fipio 1 Mbps twisted pair

Ship dimensions:

  • Length (overall): 72.0 m
  • Beam (moulded): 17.5 m
  • Depth (moulded): 5.9 m

Payload and capacities:

  • Passengers: 620
  • Vehicles: 70 cars
  • Maximum deadweight: 190 tonnes
  • Crew: 24


  • Products certification: Germanischer Lloyd Design and installation conforms to stringent marine network safety and reliability requirement
  • Redundancy concept for high data security


  • Rs2-FX/FX Hirschmann™ Rail Switches, Fiber Optic and Twisted Pair

Marine link system consisting of:

  • Redundant fiber optic backbone
  • Redundant PC workstations
  • PLC units, integrated into various switch-boards and systems
  • Connection to main machinery and third party systems via a serial interface

Based on industrial type SCADA system:

  • Workstations to provide operator interface, recording, reporting, data management
  • PLCs throughout the vessel for data gathering and closed loop control
  • Redundant backbone to facilitate the flow of data between PLCs and workstations at high speed
  • Independant or redundant field busses to enable data transfer between measuring devices and PLCs

Why Hirschmann™?

  • Long distance communication for remote programming, diagnostics and data transfer between ship and land based stations
  • Hirschmann™ industrial hubs and switches for redundant network structure
  • Performance of Ethernet and Web Enabled PLC systems
  • Hirschmann™’s complete range of Germanischer Lloyd approved Industrial Ethernet Switches
  • Expandability
  • Manageable components