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Terminal servers a vital component of automation and control networks

By Donna Donnawitz
July 12, 2013

Automation and control networks are no longer exclusive to the realm of cutting-edge manufacturing locations. The rise of robots, introduction of advanced warehouse management systems and growing demand for automated operations in a wide range of sectors has changed how many organizations get the job done. This is creating an environment in which secure, high-performance terminal server solutions are incredibly important.

Looking at automation and control network usage models
If you look beyond the traditional robotics- and machine-enabled automation and control network, you may be a bit surprised by the many places where core automation and control architectures. For example, warehouses benefits substantially from the technology.

Warehouses began a gradual shift toward advanced technological setups with the advent of barcode use in the shipping sector. As barcode scanners have become pervasive and software solutions that manage inventories based on barcode labels have gained prominence, new options for managing warehouses have emerged. Among these solutions are architectures that use a combination of robotics systems, strategically deployed product distribution chutes, specialized machinery and conveyor belts to move materials through the facility. This allows the warehouse to operate incredibly efficiently, but is dependent on an automation and control network that tells different aspects of the system what to do and when.

This kind of technology is beginning to impact a wide range of sectors, allowing organizations to use the network as a key strategic tool. However, taking full advantage of automation and control capabilities often depends on becoming reliant on multiple network protocols. As a result, major interoperability challenges often emerge in automation and control setups, making serial to Ethernet interconnectivity solutions vital.

Terminal servers vital in automation and control setups
Direct connections to robots, machinery and other components of automation and control setup generally require serial network functions to meet real-time data delivery needs. This often means that serial connections exist between control nodes and machines, but Ethernet systems are used throughout the rest of the facility, including connecting control consoles to the data network. Serial to Ethernet functionality is vital in these areas to bridge the interoperability gap. This is not only vital to ensuring consistent performance, it also helps organizations maximize revenue. Using serial on a large scale can be incredibly expensive, but Ethernet is fairly cost efficient. As a result, identifying the connections that require serial and using Ethernet elsewhere optimizes the value of the network by reducing the costs of deploying and operating the infrastructure.

Perle's serial to Ethernet converters connect serial based equipment across an Ethernet network. The Perle IOLAN range of Console Servers, Device Servers and Terminal Servers feature built-in support for IPv6 along with a broad range of authentication methods and encryption technologies.


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