This issue's cover story delves deeply into network health and the best ways to ensure and maintain a good working industrial network. As Executive Editor Jim Montague explains, many network solutions aren't used as often as they should be, which can make the big problems that much more overwhelming.
As experts quoted in the cover story point out, as industrial networks grow more complex, it becomes even more important for them to be monitored and controlled with network management software. Control engineers can use software to keep track of bandwidth utilization, device temperatures, power status, link states and more.
There's a growing role for IT-based diagnostics tools that can examine communications down to individual data packets. In addition to the software solutions detailed here, there are several free, open-source software tools that can help.
Wireshark is a free, downloadable protocol analyzer that lets users capture and interactively browse traffic on a computer network. Snort is a network intrusion detection and prevention system; Tcpdump, a common packet analyzer; and SolarWinds offers free-trial tools and an online community.
To learn more about these solutions and how to maintain network health, read "Monitor and Mend Network Health."
Magnum MNS-6K-Secure software is an optional network management software designed for customers needing extra security. It includes security features such as an SNTP server that provides synchronized time services to support critical applications, such as video surveillance where event information is time-dependent or for any application in which several network devices and attached computers and databases need to be time-coordinated.
|OPC Server Software
N-View OLE for Process Control (OPC) server software provides complete network traffic and status monitoring for N-Tron 300-n, 500-n, 500-a and fully managed switches with the optional N-View. A server application displays on PCs or serves it up to a Red Lion Controls or other OPC-capable HMI solution.
|Can We Talk?
ASComm.NET industrial communications software is a fully managed .NET component that provides Visual Studio .NET developers with a high-performance option for creating HMI, SCADA and control applications. Most .NET targets are supported, including web, Windows, console and service apps. ASComm.NET can be configured programmatically, or you can visually design your entire communications configuration without writing a single line of code. ASComm.NET supports multiple industrial protocols, industrial controllers, PLCs and instrumentation.
|That Seems Easy
EtherNet/IP Made Easy is a simple, efficient tool to help engineers configure and manage EtherNet/IP environments. The downloadable freeware tool is designed to function as a central wizard that interacts with company switches and I/O to ease configuration in most EtherNet/IP applications. EtherNet/IP Made Easy is a simple executable and does not need to be installed on a PC.
Aleos Application Framework includes an integrated development environment, feature-rich libraries, and a set of tools to develop custom machine-to-machine (M2M) applications on top of the Aleos embedded intelligence platform using AirLink GX400 and GX440 gateways. Integrating these applications with the Sierra Wireless AirVantage M2M Cloud Platform lets developers design and create end-to-end M2M implementations.