Babel Buster Gateway Range Provides Critical Support

Babel Buster network gateways are used to connect smart devices to networks beyond the network they were designed for. These smart devices are used to interconnect networks having different protocols or different physical properties.

A gateway will, in most cases, be required to translate protocols rather than simply repackage the message and resend it. The protocol translation means interpreting the data as presented by the first protocol, then re-encoding the data for equivalent presentation by the second protocol.

The scenario below demonstrates how using Babel Buster can improve communications between operation centres to reduce downtime, save on costs and increase efficiency.

Company A has a SCADA Control Centre managing the electrical distribution network. The team use a SCADA master control station to efficiently manage all remotely controlled operations by collecting and processing real-time data. The equipment used to control the electrical distribution network only speaks in Modbus and DNP3 (widely used for electrical, gas and water telemetry by utility companies).

The company also has a Communications Network Operation Centre (CNOC) managing the telecommunications network. The CNOC work with a range of communications equipment including network devices, routers, modems, optical fibre backhaul and microwave radio. These IP network-connected devices are monitored and controlled by the networking protocol SNMP which cannot speak to Modbus or DNP3. CNOC also use a SNMP Management System software to monitor SNMP devices to quickly detect, diagnose and resolve network performance problems and outages.

At the telecommunications facility, if the diesel generator (that only speaks Modbus) experiences a technical fault e.g. the start battery or fuel is low, then the CNOC will experience unknown technical issues e.g. loss of electrical supply to critical equipment. To understand the cause of the problem, system engineers use the protocol converter Babel Buster to integrate these two distinct protocols – Modbus to SNMP or SNMP to Modbus. CNOC can then successfully receive alerts from the diesel generators because the Babel Buster provides IoT compatibility to ordinary equipment. By operating as a Modbus master, the Babel Buster reads the generators Modbus registers and converts the values into SNMP registers that the CNOC’s device management system reads and can successfully act upon.

Diagram 1 Babel Buster

Key Features

  • Easy protocol conversion – taking Modbus to SNMP, or SNMP to Modbus.
  • Easy configuration through web-based configuration pages.
  • Ability to manipulate data, establishing criteria for urgent and non-urgent alarms.
  • Convert Modbus RTU to Modbus TCP.
  • Work as a Modbus master and a Modbus slave at the same time.
  • Read multiple Modbus slave devices and consolidate registers to appear as one Modbus device.
  • Read SNMP traps from multiple devices to appear as one Modbus slave device.

Here is another scenario demonstrating how using Babel Buster can help to reliably manage urgent and non-urgent alarms across local sites.

Company B is in the process of consolidating alarms and use a SNMP Management System software to monitor network assets. The software licencing model is cost prohibitive to install at every remote site, so the company install a single instance at the Perth office with each site communicating over the company’s WAN.

However, the WAN or backhaul linked to the Perth office has limited path redundancy in remote areas. Due to high system demand and mixture of technologies (such as VSAT, microwave, optical fibre, and leased lines) problems inevitably arise when one of the WAN paths fail. When the link to the head office fails the team at the remote site will not be notified of these critical alarms that are currently happening on their site.

As mentioned, the SCADA master control station can only speak Modbus and DNP3. For the SCADA master control station to present local alarms, system engineers deploy Babel Buster to convert SNMP alarms from the communication equipment into Modbus registers.

Diagram 2 Babel Buster

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