48 NEWEQUIPMENT.COM I SEPTEMBER 2021CHECKLIST
It may be tempting to rest on your laurels when you finally have your IIo T networks up and running. Nonetheless, change remains the only real constant in life, and theworld of industrial networking is no exception. Your IIo Tnetwork may be sufficient for your current needs—it mayeven be ready for your foreseeable application requirements over the next several years. But what about the nextdecade or more? Change is always on the horizon, and weneed to be prepared.
Since the early days of industrial automation, manufacturers have adopted a variety of purpose-built protocolsand systems, instead of standard Ethernet technologies, forhighly specialized industrial control applications.
However, as the IIoT market is expected to grow ata CAGR of 24% by 2023, industrial networks of the future will in all likelihood be required to transmit largeamounts of data between interconnected devices or collectdata from remote devices. With these growing demandson the horizon, how well-prepared you are for the futureof industrial networking may determine your success intackling new challenges. This section provides three considerations to help you prepare your IIo T-ready industrialnetworks for the future.
Achieve Greater Integration WithUnified Infrastructure
Over the years, various devices using different industrialprotocols have been deployed on industrial networks to provide diverse services. Under these circumstances, network integration usually costs more than expected or becomes moredifficult to achieve. Manufacturers can either choose the status quo, that is, maintain their preexisting isolated automation networks with numerous purpose-built protocols of thepast, or alternatively seek solutions to provide deterministicservices and integrate these “islands of automation”.
If our goal is to be ready for the growing demands on
our IIoT network in the future, the choice is obviously
the latter. The rule of thumb is to take potential industrial
protocols into consideration and ensure you can redesign
your networks in case any new demands arise in the mar-
ket. Time-sensitive networking (TSN) is a set of new stan-
dards introduced by the IEEE 802.1 TSN Task Group as an
advanced toolbox. With TSN, you can build open, unified
networks with standard Ethernet technologies that reserve
flexibility for the future. Furthermore, you may consider se-
lecting solutions offered by the key players who are advocat-
ing this new technology because they actively participate in
TSN plugfests to complete the ecosystem and ensure com-
patibility among different vendors.
Access Anywhere to Your Remote MachinesWith Hassle-Free Cloud Services
Cloud-based remote access offers many benefits to IIoTcustomers, such as reducing the traveling time and expensesof sending maintenance engineers to multiple remote sites.Furthermore, cloud-based secure remote access can provide flexible and scalable connections to meet the dynamic,changing requirements of the future. However, operationaltechnology (OT) engineers for water and wastewater treatment plants, machine builders, and other IIoT customersmay find it cumbersome to set up and maintain their owncloud servers to provide new services and applications. Indeed, considerable efforts are associated with setting up newinfrastructure, even if it is in the cloud. Fortunately, OEMsand machine builders can now deliver secure cloud-basedservices and remote access to their customers without havingto maintain their own cloud servers.
One key issue you should definitely scrutinize is the cloudserver license scheme. Often, upfront costs may seem low forlimited server hosts. However, these apparent cost savings onserver hosts may actually make your project uneconomical dueto a limited scale of connections. Secondly, you may also needto consider central management capabilities in order to flexibly expand remote connections in the future. With this said,carefully weigh the costs and benefits of incorporating secureremote access to your industrial networks. Always select solutions that can eliminate the hassles mentioned and help youfocus on delivering more value and benefits to your customers.
Visualize Your Network Status for BothOT and IT Professionals
You may have seen the following scene in a movie orphotograph in the news. The control room of a metro system has a group of monitors showing the current status ofeach metro station in the system, the locations of all themoving trains, and so on. Managers or operators need toquickly judge the current situation and take action according to the information aggregated on the screens infront of them. This visibility helps them keep everythingunder control. When complexity increases with greaterconnectivity on industrial networks, it can become verydifficult to identify the root cause of problems and maintain sufficient network visibility. Control engineers oftenhave to revert to trial and error to get the system back tonormal, which is time-consuming and troublesome.
Therefore, in order to facilitate and manage growingindustrial networks, network operators need integratednetwork management software to make more informeddecisions throughout network deployment, maintenance,and diagnostics. In addition, as your systems continue togrow, you will need to pay attention to a number of network integration concerns. First, only managing industrial networks in local control centers may not be feasiblethree or five years later, especially when existing systemsneed to be integrated with new ones. It is therefore important to use network management software with integration interfaces, such as OPC DA tags for SCADAsystem integration or RESTful APIs for external web services. Furthermore, an interface to facilitate third-partysoftware integration is also a key criterion to ensuringfuture flexibility.
For more, visit newequipment.com/21167314
Are Your IIoT
Moxa offers three tips manufacturers can use to preparetheir networks for ever-changing requirements.
By: Moxa Inc.
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