Extend Network Visibility to Edge Connectivity

First published by moxa.com

Network Management Software (NMS) is a common tool for IT engineers to monitor, manage, and optimize IT systems, such as Ethernet switches, routers, computers, and servers. However, most operation technology (OT) engineers only utilize SCADA for monitoring OT systems and machines, as most machines are connected by Fieldbus and legacy serial interface, thus, the concept of “Network Management” is rarely considered in the field of OT.

Edge Connectivity is the Blind Spot of OT Networks

“Ethernet” has become mainstream and has been widely used in industrial automation networks. However, many onsite machines and devices with serial, I/O, and other hardwired interfaces are not updated simultaneously due to high cost, which requires edge connectivity hardware, such as serial device servers, protocol gateways, I/Os, or edge computers, to communicate with Ethernet infra.

As IIoT technologies and Industry 4.0 have progressed, networks have become larger and more complicated. Thus, OT network management becomes crucial and drives factory operators to implement OT NMS for efficient monitoring. However, like IT NMS, many types of OT NMS only monitor network devices such as Ethernet switches and routers. Thus, edge connectivity in the field sites is currently the blind spot of OT networks.

Extend Network Visibility to Edge Connectivity with Moxa MXview

With over 30 years of industrial automation experience, Moxa, a leading industrial networks and connectivity solution provider, provides comprehensive OT NMS solutions. MXview supports OT engineers by extending network visibility from network infrastructure to edge connectivity. The features detailed below enable efficient event monitoring and network management:

Application: MXview Supports Numerous Protocol Gateways Performance Monitoring in FMCS Applications

With the IIoT trend, semiconductors and chemical factories have begun to implement big data acquisition and analysis into FMCS applications to improve environmental monitoring and production efficiency. Moxa has enabled a one system integrator to build a reliable network infra and edge connectivity with EDS Series Layer 2 Ethernet switches and UC Series computers as protocol gateways, to collect and convert data from multiple protocols of dry pumps and machines in field sites for real-time machine monitoring. Moreover, Moxa MXview provides the user with a monitor interface, with visibility covering network infra and a large amount of edge protocol gateways performance for efficient network management.

Visibility: Fast troubleshooting

Easy integration with SCADA by supporting OPC DA tags or RESTful APIs, MXview can assist operation visibility cover machines, network infra, and edge connectivity. Once SCADA shows alerts, OT engineers can quickly verify whether errors relate to the machine, network devices, or edge connectivity, and implement fast troubleshooting to shorten system downtime.

Prevention: Avoid unexpected issues

Unexpected system disconnections can put pressure on OT engineers during daily operations. MXview offers a real-time dashboard display of the health status of key network components, including fiber checks and CPU usage monitoring, to assist OT engineers in unexpected issues prevention related to system failure due to overconsumption.

Security: The proper setting

Security is a vital factor in industrial automation. Secure network devices with proper security settings save OT engineers much effort in cyber risk control. The security view function in MXview auto-scans all network devices and edge connectivity and provides a dashboard display of security settings and levels. OT engineers may adjust settings step by step. Security settings are the primary concern in OT cybersecurity.

Insights: Better management and investment

Network is a critical consideration when implementing IIoT. MXview supports OT operation managers with insights and analyses by offering dashboard displays and reports of network devices, edge connectivity security status, and key components consumption for better assets management and investment planning.

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