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Automation Solutions with Remote Communications

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Telecommunications have constantly evolved the last 25 years, continuously anticipating the market demand. In this sector, technology and services evolve quickly and network traffic grows dramatically.

Therefore, in recent years huge investments has been made globally to implement new network technologies – in Spain alone, the fixed broadband coverage is 99%, and mobile broadband is 93%. The technology is already developed and the infrastructure is available, so why not use them to cover all communication needs often encountered in the industry?

Providing communication between two control systems in different locations; a centralized SCADA system monitoring all automation devices in all plants; or a facility sending email containing the daily production details to the appropriate staff are common scenarios seen by industries such as renewable energies, water treatment and machinery builders. Now all of these scenarios can occur efficiently with standard EtherNet/IP.

The value of network technology added to an application starts with a reliable router. A basic router manages the communication between devices connected to different networks and transmits only the necessary information to the correct destination. Routers with remote communication include a modem (3G, 4G, etc.) or a WAN port to allow Internet connectivity from any location.

These routers typically feature firewall functionality and/or the ability to connect using a virtual private networks (VPN) to help secure against threats in outside networks. It is highly recommended that a router be able to provide remote communications. It will not only establish the connection but also can send a notification in case of alarm, operating faults and incidences, as well as historical data recording operating data of the application.

Security is a key issue to take into account when designing or maintaining a network. A secure connection and ecrypted communication tunnels must be established between the devices or equipment communicating within a network in order to protect the data while in transit.

This is the aim of a VPN, which provides access rules to the virtual network – by username and password – and encrypted packets interchanged between equipment on a network.

Moreover industrial networks should be secured from any unwanted access – intruders that can access confidential data or even deny services in the network. This security level is provided by firewalls, which are designed to block non-authorized access.

Remote communications can help improve connectivity between people, devices, and systems in industrial applications, and opens up new opportunities for productivity, efficiency and flexibility. With centralized technical service support, companies can also reduce travel expenses and unexpected downtimes.

Noem� Rodr�guez
Noem� Rodr�guez
Sales Engineer, Integrated Architecture, Rockwell Automation Iberia
Noem� Rodr�guez

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