Industrial Connectivity Requirements in the Present and Future

Industrial Connectivity Requirements in the Present and Future

Enterprise Networking Mag | Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The first step in enabling IIoT applications is to connect the previously unconnected industrial equipment and assets.

FREMONT CA: Uniting Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) technologies securely—a cornerstone of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)—remains a weak point for many enterprises, despite the IIoT becoming the norm in industries. Thus, selecting the correct industrial connectivity and networking solution for the operation is critical. At the same time, saying it is easier than doing it. Too often, an IT engineer with minimal familiarity with OT protocols and automation systems, or, on the other hand, an OT engineer with no knowledge of enterprise IT networking, is tasked with this challenging duty.

Take a look at how new technologies influence the role of industrial connection solutions in IIoT applications. The first step in enabling IIoT applications is to connect the previously unconnected industrial equipment and assets. To accomplish this job, one will need to examine the many types of OT assets they will be connecting and the specific connectivity requirements, such as connecting OT assets to a local network or a cloud server. Because OT assets commonly use serial or I/O (Input/ Output) communication interfaces in industrial applications, selecting the proper serial and I/O connectivity solutions is critical to enabling industrial connectivity. When connecting OT assets to distant or cloud servers, one must also consider extra factors such as cybersecurity and large-scale device management.

Remote I/O Connectivity

Remote I/O connectivity's role has evolved beyond simply gathering and transmitting digital or analog data. Remote I/Os play a critical role in making data available to the application systems in IIoT applications, where both OT and IT systems need to obtain data from I/O devices.

Serial Connectivity

Because most legacy equipment, machinery, and field devices still use a range of standard and proprietary serial communication protocols, an Ethernet-based system may require a serial device server or protocol gateway to communicate with them.

IIoT Device Connectivity

Connectivity devices used to connect field equipment in IIoT applications may have their own set of criteria. To interface with IT systems or cloud servers, connectivity devices may need IT protocols or cloud capabilities. When everything is connected, problems like managing a high number of connectivity devices and safely delivering data must be resolved.

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