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Network-Enable Serial Devices Across Industrial Protocols

Electricity grids are comprised of two primary components – transmission systems, which carry electricity from power plants to transmission lines, and distribution systems, which funnel low voltage electricity from the transmission lines to end customers. This system enables individual utility companies to rely on the power grid rather than building their own power lines.

A federal power transmission services operator, who owns the majority of the power grid in the Pacific Northwest United States, started an initiative to create a regional transmission organization. This organization would act as an independent system operator, providing a “one stop shopping” solution to utility providers across the region. Efficient acquisition of data and control across the network was a key requirement for this customer.

Since the serial data transmission protocols for equipment used at the substations varied from location to location, network-enabling the intelligent electronic devices (IED), meters, relays and other devices proved to be a challenge. A solution that is compatible with Modbus, Distributed Network Protocol (DNP3) and various proprietary protocols was required, since rewriting application software would be time-consuming and impractical.

Digi One® IAP is designed to handle exactly this type of scenario. This device server solution provides a single RS-232/422/485 serial-to-Ethernet connection through serial tunneling, TCP/UDP sockets and Digi’s patented RealPort® technology. RealPort makes it possible to establish a connection between the host and networked serial devices by creating a local COM or TTY port on the host. This process of COM port redirection allows existing software applications like DNP3 and Modbus to work without modification. Unlike other COM port redirectors, RealPort offers full hardware and software flow control, as well as tunable latency and throughput. These features ensure optimum performance since data transfer is adjusted according to specific application requirements. 

Digi One IAP made it easy to network-enable the serial devices at each substation so that real-time data could be efficiently collected and transmitted across the network.

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Networking substation serial devices that use Modbus, DNP3 and proprietary protocols

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Network-enable RS/232/422/485 serial devices that use different protocols, without rewriting existing application software

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