IP to everything

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Maxburn
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IP to everything

Post by Maxburn »

It seems ALC has thoroughly embraced the IP network to everything in the system in their new modules. They haven't strictly said ARCnet is going away but they know they have problems getting ARCnet silicon and there is a big push to go IP for new systems design. ALC doesn't seem to be unique in this matter.

Meanwhile it feels like we are a fairly backwards area, we still have some engineers drawing control systems with modems. What do you do about this situation? Do you have outreach to do engineer training sessions on "the modern world of IP communications in controls" or what?

Any tricks of the trade to get the controls IP network included in scope of the typical IT network guys?

Commissioning new buildings; the customer IP network shows up well after HVAC system is expected to be functional. How are you handling that? I assume you loan out switches and routers etc. Honestly we are viewing that bit as a opportunity to sell hosting, but still it's another wild card.
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orion242
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Re: IP to everything

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Gonna be a real headache with owner supplied network. Been fighting that hassle on a few jobs lately. IT switches are on back order and not coming any time soon, but we need to be ready for Cx long before.

Ended up pushing an extra through to pull our own temp network, but its not an all IP system so its just a matter of connecting a handful of control panels and some IP controllers on bigger equipment. Been using a few peplinks to get a temp network between panels on another site. Typically on jobs where its owner network, I just figure on pulling the network between everything and using temp switches. They finally get the network up, switch over, pull the temp switches and abandon the cabling. Not an option if your talking IP to all the field devices. Seems like having WIFI on the IP controllers would be almost a must to get around this hassle without a ton of added cost. Just install your own temp APs and pull them after the network is up.
Any tricks of the trade to get the controls IP network included in scope of the typical IT network guys?
Good luck with that. Rare cases, sure. The bulk of P&S work, don't see that happening unless your subing that work on your dime.
Honestly we are viewing that bit as a opportunity to sell hosting, but still it's another wild card.
Seems costly to install a full network to all the field devices only for startup use. How do bid against others unless the spec is IP only?
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Maxburn
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Re: IP to everything

Post by Maxburn »

orion242 wrote: Fri Apr 08, 2022 2:24 pmHow do bid against others unless the spec is IP only?
I think that's key, no engineer is going to spec this. Why would they? This is being thrown on us from manufacturers that are ditching serial buss and going with IP. At this point the components for IP are probably cheaper than serial network hardware (production scale). Cabling is also more expensive and labor intensive.

I very much prefer the bandwidth and troubleshooting tools of IP when working on the system but a customer doesn't seem to get any benefit. They talk about analytics and data collection but a well managed serial network can do that too. Only thing I can think of is enabling OTHER protocols like MQTT, haystack or some other API where they go straight to the controller without a gateway. Features that don't exist in my product line yet but I know others are making headway there.
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orion242
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Re: IP to everything

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Maxburn wrote: Tue Apr 12, 2022 10:35 amAt this point the components for IP are probably cheaper than serial network hardware (production scale)
Highly doubt it. ARCnet, duh. 485, not a chance. Keep in mind even if a processor support IP directly it still needs external hardware.
Maxburn wrote: Tue Apr 12, 2022 10:35 amI very much prefer the bandwidth and troubleshooting tools of IP when working on the system but a customer doesn't seem to get any benefit. They talk about analytics and data collection but a well managed serial network can do that too.
Ditto and I don't have any issue with it when we supply the network. When it gets pushed to the owner's IT department it becomes a hassle. Not so much on existing buildings but new construction this is a train wreck. Haven't had to think about all field devices IP yet, but as you brought up the building network is typically after we are nearly complete. Not having a network at startup is going to cook the amount of labor we would typically figure. Connecting mech rooms and throwing the network away after the building network is up, cost of doing biz. Tossing an IP network to every device, not really reasonable.

Guess faced with that, I would want to get out in front of the owners IT day 1 and put some language in our proposals on owner supplied network of our expectations. Aka we light up a controller, it better have a hot port ready or its extra. Something to cya. After that hardware with wifi so its not so painful if push comes to shove seems like a good idea.
Maxburn wrote: Tue Apr 12, 2022 10:35 amOnly thing I can think of is enabling OTHER protocols like MQTT, haystack or some other API where they go straight to the controller without a gateway. Features that don't exist in my product line yet but I know others are making headway there.
Yea. Guess when that starts paying bills it will get more attention. Hell even requested.
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Maxburn
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Re: IP to everything

Post by Maxburn »

On these small routers I'm dealing with I've noticed that a lot of them skip right over having individual ethernet chips; they go straight to having a network switch on die. WAN and LAN ports are defined by VLAN internally. It's cheap to get a bunch of ports that way. On BMS modules I haven't looked into it but I kind of doubt anyone's making a SoC with RS485 on die. Maybe they are, but if so there's going to be a shedload more with ethernet on die in that SoC. External components aren't much, couple coils for isolation, the actual jack and some other miscellaneous components.

Looking at a G5CE it has individual network chips for both ports. Will look into a newer dual ethernet one after lunch.
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orion242
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Re: IP to everything

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Maxburn wrote: Thu Apr 14, 2022 3:07 pmOn these small routers I'm dealing with I've noticed that a lot of them skip right over having individual ethernet chips; they go straight to having a network switch on die.
And it still needs external magnetics and the RG45 jack(s) at a very minimum external.
Maxburn wrote: Thu Apr 14, 2022 3:07 pmOn BMS modules I haven't looked into it but I kind of doubt anyone's making a SoC with RS485 on die.
Some special snowflakes but in general, nope. Need a 485 transceiver and terminals to land wires on externally at min.

The cost of the mags & jack for IP vs 485 transceiver and cheap screw terminals, that is the comparison. And what Ethernet speed are we talking? 1Ge support is a "touch" more than 10m. Have the ring failover relays like Distech? That alone is going to blow away 485.

Will have to poke at that, but I bet 485 still beats in costs by a fair bit. That's not accounting for added CPU costs, required PCB area, etc. Just the few typical external bits that are required in almost every case done in the cheapest possible way.

I assume ARCnet is worse than Lon at this point from a fab point of view. Where does ARCnet have any legs outside of ALC? Lon chips are sky rocking in cost because volume and fabs are dumping it. ARCnet more common than lon these days? 485 is everywhere and not leaving anytime soon in many markets.
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Maxburn
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Re: IP to everything

Post by Maxburn »

On the dual ethernet module I'm seeing the LAN transformers and a group of relays to accomplish the failover, as you say that's all required. Does appear the two network ports and switch are on board with the CPU. https://www.ti.com/product/AM3352#features
The dual ethernet models are 100M, the bigger ones are single 1G port and a 100M service port.

I'm still thinking the network components are cheaper due to scaling, certainly availability would be better volume too. ARCnet is probably the worst of all of them in cost and availability.

Interesting thought exercise.
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orion242
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Re: IP to everything

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Well I was in the belly of the beast again this week. Not mentioning the OEM, but its one of the biggies.

The initial meet up with their reps and talking general work things, supply chain crap comes up. The head guy says anything IP is a current problem for them. Thinking to myself, yeah whatever. Plenty of IP crap is still available. Not "everything" IP.

Then we see all their new stuff. Sure enough they made the plunge in everything IP head first. Left the meeting wondering how the hell they are making numbers since reading between the lines they have issues sourcing parts that they based their whole new line on.

They also mentioned they had a 485 to IP solution coming out in the near future, almost certainly because of the push back they got from their dealers. Sounded like a hellish nightmare for a product launch (which was nothing new to them) from what I could piece together. All the same sales BS for all IP. Oh its easier to install than two wire. Comical, your talking to our install manger and techs that started the field installing. More combine install years that prob everyone in the building. Nothing but bandaids when it comes to forced owner networks and getting a system up and running. Their preferred route is the BMS contractor supplies the network full cloth / subs it to datacom. Yea, the datacom guys are giving us a good number to come well ahead of their normal to make sure our work goes smooth.

Time will tell. Don't have an issue with all IP. Been there done that. Only offering that hardware today, not sure that's going to work out so hot in the real world. Especially under current circumstances that don't seem to be going away in the short term.

Seems silly to roll out a new line and not have an all IP solution these days. On the flip side, to write off 485 really hamstrings your options to land jobs. The bulk of the P&S market isn't going to give two $hits about the underlying network.
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orion242
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Re: IP to everything

Post by orion242 »

Maxburn wrote: Thu Apr 21, 2022 2:30 pmI'm still thinking the network components are cheaper due to scaling, certainly availability would be better volume too. ARCnet is probably the worst of all of them in cost and availability.
Just a quick peek at that datasheet, the MAC is internal and it has several interface options to the PHY. You need the PHY part of the equation yet and that's gonna run a fair bit more than a 485 transceiver.
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