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iSNMP OPC Server and PING OPC Server

The Industrial SNMP driver for KEPServerEX provides valuable insight into the performance of a variety of industrial control system networks. The controllers, software, and underlying control network make up a modern control system. The entire system can become unreliable without stable performance from all three components. With the SNMP driver suite you can monitor and analyze your plant Ethernet-based network from within your existing HMI package and never have to rely on blind faith that the network is performing to specifications.

The SNMP OPC Server Suite seamlessly integrates monitoring and analyzing of Managed and Unmanaged SNMP supported Ethernet network devices into the leading HMI, SCADA, Historian, or MES software packages. Automation professionals can now reliably incorporate the status of Hubs, Routers, Switches, PCs/Servers, UPS devices, and other Managed or Unmanaged devices directly into their automation systems.

   

iSNMP Plug-in Driver Features Include:
  • Specialty Tags
  • Auto Discovery
  • MIB Import
  • Network Analyst
  • SNMP Traps Support
  • Historical Data Attributes
  • SNMP Ver. 3 Security Support - Authentication & Encryption
  • Event Tags
  • Table Offsets
  • ScanFloor Property
  • Unmanaged Device Monitoring
  • Runtime Management of Device Polling
  • Includes PING
   
   
Part Number List Price 1 yr. Maintenance & Support List Price
KWP-ISNMP1-PRD (1 - 15 Devices) $1,205.00 KWM-ISNMP1-ATT $241.00
KWP-ISNMP2-PRD (16 - 49 Devices) $2,305.00 KWM-ISNMP2-ATT $461.00
KWP-ISNMP0-PRD (50+ Devices) $3,075.00 KWM-ISNMP0-ATT $615.00
   
   
Specialty Tags:  
The SNMP OPC Server provides convenient "Specialty tags" to help users know more than the current value of a single polled OID. The tags include: History tags, Events tags, Table Offsets, and ScanFloor tags.
   
Auto Discovery:  
Save time by using the Auto-Discovery tool to search your Ethernet network for managed network devices.
   
MIB Import:  
Import MIB files from manageable devices and easily map network device MIB addresses to SNMP tag names.
   
Network Analyst:  
Network Analyst gathers raw SNMP data from network devices and continually performs calculations to generate data that can be used, such as bandwidth utilization and network error rate statistics.
   
SNMP Traps Support:  
Many SNMP manageable devices can be configured to send unsolicited data to network management software systems such as our SNMP OPC Server. By configuring an SNMP device to send data without being "polled" such as when a critical system tag goes into an unfavorable state, you can reduce the need for "polling" the network device. SNMP driver supports receiving SNMP Trap data via Events tags as well as through defined Trap OIDs.
   
Historical Data Attributes:  
Previous Value, Delta Time, Moving Average

Historical values are generated by the SNMP OPC Server (not the remote Agent/device) when an OID has valid historical modifiers appended to it.

   
Event Tags:  
Events_001, Events_001_001, Events_001_FieldCnt, Events_Count

A FIFO-based queue to receive Traps / Notifications from previously configured Agents.
   
Table Offsets:  
OID[1] Table access is accomplished by enumerating columns of a table. The SNMP OPC Server uses an array-like notation for Table access.
   
ScanFloor Property:  
ScanRateFloor, ScanRateFloorLock

SNMP devices are typically scanned at much slower rates than other controls equipment. Scanning an SNMP device too quickly may result in degraded device performance. The Scan Rate Floor has been added to prevent users from inadvertently overloading Agent/devices with read requests in the order of milliseconds.

The Scan Rate Floor is the minimum rate to scan SNMP devices. The default is 1000 milliseconds. When set (to a non-zero value) the SNMP driver will never scan the remote device more often than the specified scan rate.

Note: OPC clients can still poll the SNMP server and obtain the last read value at a much faster OPC Group Update Rate. The 'Lock' option will lock the Scan Rate for this device to the given value. When Locked, the driver will always poll at the Scan Rate setting regardless of OPC client update rates that are below or above this rate.
   
Unmanaged Device Monitoring:  
Not all Ethernet network devices are SNMP managed. To help monitor any system from within your HMI, the new SNMP OPC Server suite contains a Ping Driver (see below) which automatically generates OPC tags for each Unmanaged device defined. These "heartbeat" and "response time" tags provide a standardized and reliable way to monitor all devices in the Ethernet network.
   
Runtime Management of Device Polling:
The SNMP OPC Server supports Device Auto-Demotion for Managed or Unmanaged devices. Users can adjust Auto-Demotion parameters to allow drivers to temporarily place a device off-scan in the event that it is not responding. This allows the driver to continue to optimize its communications with other available devices on the same channel as well as notify the client application of the event. A new ScanFloor device property provides robust polling control when the control application can not tolerate a one size fits all approach to network device polls. An additional benefit of the ScanFloor setting is its ability to handle devices independently especially when Agent loading is a concern. _System tags expose Auto-Demotion and ScanFloor tags to any HMI or control application of your choosing.
   
Protocol:  
  • SNMP protocol, versions 1, 2c and 3

Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) is an application layer protocol that facilitates the exchange of management information between network devices. It is part of the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) protocol suite and is a standard maintained by the IETF.

SNMP enables Network Administrators to manage network performance, find and solve network problems, and plan for network growth. It is an open protocol and for years it has been the de facto standard protocol used between network management systems and network devices.

   
Supported Devices:  
SNMP Managed Devices. The driver works with a broad range of SNMP Managed devices such as:
  • Alarm Management RTUs
  • Device Servers
  • Environment Monitoring Equipment for Server Rooms
  • Managed Industrial Ethernet Switches
  • Printers
  • Routers
  • Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS)
  • Unix-based Servers
  • Windows-based PCs and Servers
PING OPC Server (Included in iSNMP Suite)
The Ping driver is part of the iSNMP OPC Server Suite because not all Ethernet network devices are SNMP managed. To help monitor any system from within your HMI, the Ping driver automatically generates OPC tags for each unmanaged device defined. These "heartbeat" and "response time" tags provide a standardized and reliable way to monitor all devices in the Ethernet network.

PING Plug-in Driver Features Include:
  • Proven Server Architecture
  • Runtime Management of Device Polling
  • Unmangaged Device Monitoring
   
A Proven Server Architecture:  
Kepware purchased all SNMP-related assets of COI Software in September 2007. Kepware has developed a new iSNMP suite that "plugs-in" to Kepware's award winning OPC server architecture. The new drivers in the suite are, the SNMP driver for Managed devices and the Ping driver for Unmanaged devices. The OPC server which houses these drivers is Kepware's field proven KEPServerEX which supports the widest range of connectivity for OPC, DDE, and Native Interfaces.

The Ping Device Driver is provided for monitoring your network devices via the ICMP protocol (Ping). The Ping driver was designed specifically for use with 32 bit OPC Server products. The Ping driver provides the ability to monitor the Status of a network device, and the time that it takes for the ICMP message to reach its destination and return a response, the RoundTripTime.
   
Runtime Management of Device Polling:
All plug-in device drivers including the Ping driver provide communication timeout settings for Connect Timeout, Request Timeout, and an adjustable Retry or Fail After setting.

The Ping driver also supports Device Auto-Demotion for Unmanaged devices. Users can adjust Auto-Demotion parameters to allow drivers to temporarily place a device off-scan in the event that it is not responding. This allows the driver to continue to optimize its communications with other available devices on the same channel as well as notify the client application of the event.
   
Protocol:  
  • Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP)

The Ping driver leverages the Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) to determine whether a defined IP or host address is reachable in the IP control network. Use the Ping driver when you need to incorporate device availability status into your automation applications when target devices are not SNMP managed.

   
Supported Devices:  
Any device (IP or Host address) that can communicate via TCP/IP
  • Building Control Systems
  • Device Servers
  • Drives
  • Gateways
  • Hubs
  • HV AC Equipment
  • PCs and Servers
  • PLCs & Controllers
  • Printers
  • Scanners
  • Security Systems
  • Sensors
  • Switches (Unmanaged)
   
Unmanaged Device Monitoring:  
Not all Ethernet network devices are SNMP managed. To help monitor any system from within your HMI, iSNMP automatically generates OPC tags for each unmanaged device defined. These "heartbeat" and "response time" tags provide a standardized and reliable way to monitor all devices in the Ethernet network.
   
Downloads:  
 
   

SNMP – The Solution to the Problem You are About to Consider Very Important!

What is the most important thing on the mind of a manufacturing professional? Well, from most articles we read, there are two areas – improving manufacturing performance and reducing downtime with a wide array of solutions available to assist you with both. You can focus on integration with your business systems to improve the real-time aspects of production management and you can focus on better production analytics to squeeze additional performance out of the equipment you are monitoring. Both identify and resolve areas of production stress – the items that impact the reliability of your manufacturing equipment. These are all valuable pursuits and they will, no doubt, deliver improvements in your production and profitability. To effectively calculate the savings, you should quantify your cost of downtime, per machine, per line, per plant area, etc. Only then, will you really clearly know the return on your investments.

But as was said in a song… "The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind: the kind that blind sides you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday."

What might they be? Let's start simple – that production printer that is left off-line or that ran out of ink or paper. The Storage Disk that filled up. On the more disruptive side – it's the CD left in a Drive that stops a system from Auto-Booting. The operator that started a video session and stole all available network bandwidth… It's the laptop plugged into an available switch port to access a PLC needing maintenance (oops – yes, I let my kids use it to do homework the other night and hmmm – I guess they may have accidentally infected it). How do you monitor and protect against all this?

SNMP - Simple Network Management Protocol, is a communications protocol built into most of the IT infrastructure around us. From Printers to UPS Systems, Routers and the PCs we use in automation, virtually everything in the IT world supports SNMP communications. It is already there, waiting for your use. And, it is supported over the Ethernet you are already using.

So, what does this all mean? Well, it means you can both monitor and control most of the equipment making up your system infrastructure. You can monitor that printer and make sure it is on-line and has the resources it needs for this production shift. You can monitor for media left in drives or measure the UPS reserve power to make sure it is ready for that power interruption. Plus monitor your network – for normal bandwidth so that you can generate alarms on abnormal situations. You can even disable unused ports on a switch to ensure someone doesn't just plug-in a maintenance laptop without first following procedures to ensure the safety of your automation environment.
Monitoring devices via SNMP has typically been the domain of your IT personnel. They have tools such as HP OpenView – enabling them to discover and monitor the various bits that make up your business infrastructure. Ah yes, but they can't tell a PLC from an SLC and you really don't want them performing a port scan of your automation network. No, that really wouldn't be a good idea, unless you like the idea of a Tuesday evening infrastructure troubleshooting session… So, what do you do? You know now that you already have most of what you need in terms of devices that can give you SNMP results, all that's missing is the integration of SNMP data with your existing HMI/SCADA solution.

Well, the solution comes in the form of an Industrial SNMP (iSNMP) driver, similar to your RSLinx, ProfiNet, Modbus, etc. automation driver. An iSNMP Driver will let your automation system both monitor and manage your automation infrastructure. In addition to monitoring your PLCs and Field Devices, you will be able to communicate with all the pieces that make up your automation network, the backbone of your plant.

Here's SNMP 101. Devices that support SNMP are described as having SNMP Agent capability. The Agent communicates with the device and exposes information based on the SNMP Communications Standard. The SNMP Standard however, does not describe the data that is available from a device. That is handled by a separate definition called a MIB (Management Information Base) file. Devices that include an SNMP Agent will have a corresponding MIB File, either available with the device or easily accessible from the manufacturer. The MIB describes the information that is available, and how to interact with the device. Some data is read-only; other data can be read or written to.

SNMP commonly supports two types of connections, one for the polling of data (A GET Command) and another for the generation of unsolicited messaging based on triggers – called TRAPS. A SET command also exists for the management of a device – writing information to a device.

Let's have a look at some MIB Variables – for common devices used in Automation.

A typical UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) may deliver these variables:

BatteryCapacity OutputFrequency OutputVoltage OutputLoad BasicOutputStatus (On-line) BasicTimeonBattery ReplaceBattery Printers offer a great deal of information, from on-line status to toner and paper levels: hrDeviceStatus - running, warning, testing, down hrPrinterStatus - idle, printing, warmup hrPrinterDetectedErrorState - lowPaper, noPaper, lowToner , noToner , doorOpen, jammed, offline, serviceRequested

Now, getting into real IT equipment can be very interesting. Wireless Access Points, your greatest vulnerability in an automation infrastructure, offer a wealth of data. You can be monitoring or controlling who has access, how long connections have been active, and the quality of connections. As many as 200 variables can be accessed from a Wireless Access Point, from Web Encryption Keys to Authorized MAC addresses. There is Frequency (Channel) information, Communication Traffic Statistics, and Current Connection Statistics. The use of SNMP connectivity can allow you to automatically manage security procedures and control access, right from an HMI/SCADA that delivers user friendly controls, operator logs and procedural tracking.

Bridges, Switches, and Routers, offer equally as much information. Most of this information is not valuable for continuous monitoring, however, there are variables that can enable and disable ports not currently in use. Standard procedures can require an operator to give access to a Switch Port, rather than leaving ports available to anyone who walks by with an Ethernet Cable. There are indicators of communication degradation – enabling you to alarm on pending trouble, and there are variables that help you understand the type of network traffic currently flowing through the switch.

Some industrial Automation Equipment and Sensors support SNMP in addition to other protocols. SNMP communications can open a wide range of new functionality for the control engineer. Common IT products exist for server farm automation. Products deliver HVAC monitoring and control and Power Distribution management. You can easily control a remote power receptacle, perhaps triggering a remote boot via SNMP. These products can now be easily installed with and incorporated into your automation environment.

But what about Ethernet devices that are not SNMP compliant? Well, they can still be monitored. Most likely they'll respond to a PING network command. A PING is a simple network command used to test whether a particular device is reachable across and IP network. It can be used to determine the accessibility of the device, and can also be used to determine the responsiveness of a device – by measuring the response time (although other factors such as network latency may also be a factor). An additional Driver (imaginatively called PING) provides this connectivity.

These Drivers (PING) have been developed, adhering to automation communication standards, enabling use with virtually any automation software product. The standard, OPC, provides the transfer of data between various software applications, in this case a communications Driver and an HMI/SCADA solution.

These Drivers deliver both auto- discovery and auto-configuring functionality for quick and easy setup. Devices may be set manually or an IP range may be scanned to uncover items to monitor. Once identified, the Driver will import the associated MIB and will display all available TAG data for the device. It is then up to the Client application to make use of this new information.

The display above highlights the KEPServerEX configuration environment and an auto-generated list of Tags typical of an SNMP Managed Switch.

This is all pretty straight forward stuff for the plant engineer. He or she has been leveraging this type of functionality with automation equipment for years! All that is needed is the addition of another communication driver or two, enabling the integration of IT infrastructure equipment via SNMP, with the other protocols currently being monitored by your existing HMI/SCADA. The return on this investment is likely to be the lowest hanging fruit that you'll find for a long time.

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