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.
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.
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.
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.
Industrial managed Ethernet switches feature integrated web-based management software for simplifying Ethernet switch configuration and monitoring, and features a home page with status updates for speed and packet transmission/receipt for each port. Device control menu permits parameterization for each port, including priority status designation. Additional options are Jumbo Packet/Multicast Rate limit, SNMP, email alarms, displaying/changing IP status, port mirroring (for traffic monitoring), trunk configuration and setting RJ45 speeds.
OPC Server for Modbus simplifies open data sharing with HC900 hybrid controllers with expanded communication options and a streamlined interface. Key features include redundant device communications, precise control over who can access what data via role-based security, and support for OPC alarms and events.
DesignMate software tool download has updated library of registered devices, and revised terminology to align with current Foundation fieldbus installations. It automatically audits segment layouts for conformance with the Foundation physical layer specification, based on IEC 61158-2 (Type 1) standard to indicate that the fieldbus infrastructure will work with desired parameters such as cable length, number and type of installed devices, and selected power supplies.
IntraVue, a scalable solution for controls engineers who are not network experts, continually records key network parameters and places the data in a relational database. Data is presented in a variety of time-based graphs and event logs, and capabilities include automatic discovery of vendor and model for EtherNet/IP applications; diagnostic reports sent to smartphone or tablet; dashboard for analysis and viewing of multiple networks; and IntraVue Plug for PLC I/O or OEM applications.
Industrial HiVision software for industrial network management provides a SCADA-like view into network performance. Easy to integrate into SCADA applications, the software offers a built-in SNMP to OPC server. Users can turn individual network components into a complete network architecture while monitoring and reporting on system performance.
MXview v. 2.2 industrial network management software provides support for PoE device visualization and third-party device management, along with device availability and inventory reporting capabilities. Other features include event log history, device-level network availability monitoring and event detection. A 20-node trial version is available for download.
SNMP OPC Server Suite for KEPServerEX enables the monitoring and analyzing of SNMP-enabled Ethernet devices, and reliably incorporates data from switches, routers and uninterruptible power supplies directly into automation systems, such as HMI, trending, SCADA and historian. The SNMP driver delivers both automatic discovery and configuration of SNMP-enabled devices.
Downloadable trial of WhatsUp Gold v.16 monitoring software has comprehensive network, server and application monitoring, automated layer 2 discovery and mapping, advanced wireless infrastructure management and hardware and software asset reporting in one web-based console, providing administrators with a central hub for everything IT management.
Nessus 5.0 vulnerability scanner includes more than 24 plug-in filters for rapid policy creation, such as vulnerability publication date, public vulnerability database ID, information assurance vulnerability alert (IAVA) to identify easily exploitable vulnerabilities. Five severity levels separate informational data from actionable results. Customize reports with pre-configured report formats produce targeted reports.
Tenable Network Security
Along with the active CAN interfaces, CANopen Master API V6 supports company's low-priced passive interfaces and can operate up to 12 CAN interfaces in parallel, and, depending on the hardware used, up to four CAN channels per interface board. It includes support for the CiA 301 (CANopen application layer and communication profile) v. 4.2 and CiA 305 (CANopen layer setting services and protocols) v. 2.2.
MapIT G2 intelligent infrastructure management (IIM) solution has smart patch panels, master control panels and MapIT software to provide real-time tracking and reporting of network-wide physical-layer activity such as connection status, diagnostics and dynamic label information. It can monitor 24–65,000 ports in a single patching field to managing a widespread network of small remote sites.