Engineered Synergistic Interoperability
What is Ethernet Encapsulation?
Like any great piece of new technology it's important to understand what it is before one can determine how to use it, but before we dig into what Ethernet Encapsulation is let's start with a possible real world scenario.
You arrive at work one day, and are informed that the IT department wants to gather data from each machine on the plant floor. The IT guys, unfamilar with the industrial side of the facility think this will be easy since they dictated that Ethernet cabling be strung through out the plant. Unfortunately all of your existing PLCs only have serial connections.
In the not too distant past, you would have had to contemplate running new wiring to each PLC, assuming the distances weren't too far. Another option would have been to use costly radio modems. Still, you knew there had to be a better way using the plants existing Ethernet wiring.
That's where media converters (terminal servers) from Westermo come into play. A media converter, such as the EDW100 is essentially a virtual serial port. More importantly, a virtual serial port that can sit on your existing Ethernet network.
The task of connecting all of your controllers just took a big step back into the realm of possibility. You will be able to place a media converter next to each machine gathering operational data directly from the serial ports of the controller, and bring that data back to the IT guys via their Ethernet cabling. Problem solved.
Ethernet Encapsulation is the enhanced ability of KEPServerEX serial drivers to communicate directly with media converters. As described in the previous section, we could have used the software supplied with the media converter, but this would not have yielded the most optimal result in terms of performance or reliability. With this in mind, Kepware has incorporated the functions needed to directly connect to a serial device connected to an Ethernet based media converter.
If you are familiar with Kepware's serial drivers, you already know you can select a serial port number from 1 to 100 when configuring a channel. For drivers that support Ethernet Encapsulation you will now find that you also have the option of selecting "Ethernet Encapsulation" mode. The following dialog demonstrates how this selection is presented:
Configuring the channel for Ethernet Encapsulation mode is only half of the story. As with any Ethernet based connection you must also specify an IP address, a port number, and the Ethernet communications format to be used. This is done when you add a new device to your channel.
When a new device is added to the channel, the Ethernet Encapsulation settings will allow you to select an Ethernet IP address, an Ethernet Port number, and the Ethernet protocol to be used. The device dialog for Ethernet Encapsulation appears as follows:
This dialog appears on the properties of each device you add to a channel in Ethernet Encapsulated mode. Since this dialog appears for each device, you can have hundreds of serial devices connected to your Ethernet network.
Important Note: When you select Ethernet Encapsulation mode you will notice that the serial port settings such as baud rate, data bits, and parity become greyed out. This occurs because these settings will not be used in Ethernet Encapsulation mode. The media converter must, however, have its serial port properly configured to match the requirements of the serial device you plan to attach to the media converter.
Visit our OPC Download Page to determine if the driver you need supports this feature. Manuals are provided for each OPC Suite. If you have further questions regarding how Ethernet Encapsulation works or how you can use it to solve your next tough communications task, please contact us. If it sounds like Ethernet Encapsulation is your ticket to beating your next connectivity challenge, download our free demo version of KEPServerEX and give it a try.
About the EDW100:
The EDW100 is an industrial Ethernet to serial interface adapter designed for harsh environments. It allows serial devices to interface through a new or existing Ethernet network. The unit can support either RS-232, RS-485 or RS-422 based protocols running at up to 115.2 kbit/s. Ethernet connection is via a standard RJ-45 port with MDI/MDI-X.
Serial/IP® and Telnet Options EDW100 are bundled with Serial/IP® avertual Com port director software. The Serial/IP® use portions of the Telnet Environment Option (RFC1572) to verify that it is con-nected to an EDW100.The EDW100 has partial support for the Telnet Com Port Control Option (RFC2217). This makes it possible to remotely (on the fly) change serial port parameters. Currently supported parameters are baud rate, parity, number of data bits and number of stop bits.As default the Telnet Options are disabled. If the Serial/IP® software is to be used, the Telnet options must med enabled in the web tool. This parameter can be found on the serial page.
Note: Ethernet Encapsulation mode has been designed and tested using the Digi IA Series by Kepware. The features developed will also work with other media converter devices that support operational characteristics similar to the products listed above. If your media converter supports a raw TCP mode it should work with this feature.
If KepserverEX were only about communications drivers your application objective of connectivity would be accomplished. However, KepserverEX isn't only about drivers, but also deals with other aspects, such as device management. KepserverEX offers an SNMP suite whereby incorporating MIB tags from your Ethernet hardware (Westermo) enables you to monitor your devices through your Ethernet network. Functionality reserved for your IT department is now available to manufacturing:
Further enhancements to your application are available through KepserverEX plug-ins.
Do you have a data base for which you are needing to send information? KepserverEX is your solution for that as well.
Need redundancy? Kepware is your solution for that as well:
This is but one industry example. Challenge ESI to come up with a solution for the industry you work in. A solution is possible, that will garner synergies in any industry.
Note: Foundation of Ethernet Encapsulation information provided by Kepware.
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