Protocol conversion for remote connectivity

As systems grow over time, and protocols come and go, legacy communication between new and old systems is critical to keep operations uptime to a maximum. Protocol conversion enables one common stream of data to be transmitted or received to the top-end SCADA. In order for this to happen, a specially designed router must act as a leader, enabling it to talk to a variety of industrial protocols, which are acting as followers.

Protocols that commonly need to be converted are DNP3, Modbus RTU, Modbus IP, IEC 104, IEC 101, and MMS. SCADAs are used in industrial settings to communicate with multiple outstations in order to get a holistic picture of a system. One of the main challenges in these types of settings is that as the network grows, more and more systems are being added which causes incompatibility. Implementing a router, like the Merlin 4400, that has the ability to convert protocols eliminates the need for the SCADA to communicate with more than one point of presence on the network. This is critical for the interoperability of multiple systems with multiple protocols.


Protocol conversion by Westermo

One of the main advantages of having a protocol converter implemented within an industrial system is the added benefit of a protocol-based firewall. In recent times, cyber-attacks have become increasingly prevalent, making network security a top priority. Protocol converters enable bi-directional conversion, allowing firewall rules to restrict traffic between the SCADA and remote sites. Data requests will only be answered if the request is correct and there is a mapped connection between the protocols. No mapping equals no response. This can naturally secure your network from unknown traffic whilst maintaining vital communication for industrial applications.

In addition to enabling communication with multiple remote outstations and securing it, a router with protocol conversion ability can also be a cost-effective solution to integrate existing assets into one common SCADA.

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For decades we have offered products and solutions for remote access networking applications. Our extensive product range and deep understanding of applications ensure that we can offer the best solution for your needs.

Carl de Bruin

International sales

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