How Time-Sensitive Networking Enables the IIoT

[fa icon='calendar'] Sep 5, 2016 9:17:20 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in DeviceNet, Ethernet, Ethernet IEEE 802, Featured In, General, Grid Connect, IIC, IIoT, Industrial, Industrial Internet Consortium, Industrial Internet of Things, Industry 4.0. Machine, Internet of Things, IoT, M2M, machine to machine, operational technology, PROFIBUS, tech, technology, testbed, time-sensitive networking, TSN

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The world’s first time-sensitive networking (TSN) testbed is being developed in a collaborative effort to change network infrastructure so that it will enhance the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). As this develops, it is essential that Industry 4.0. Machine designers, builders, and users have reliable and secure access to smart edge devices. This will force the current, standard network technologies to transform in an effort to meet the requirements of the next generation of industrial systems.

The testbed itself was designed to assist in creating a new wave of innovative technologies, products, applications, and services for the industrial internet market. The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), comprised of the corporations developing the testbed, are attempting to create a TSN in an “ecosystem of manufacturing applications,” which is based off of new Ethernet IEEE 802 standards. The goal of the testbed is to provide insight on the security of a TSN as well as highlight its real-time capabilities through the use of standard and converged Ethernet.

In order for TSNs to be taken seriously, it will be crucial that there are sufficient security measures utilized in order to protect the safety of IIoT users. It is essential that the TSN security is integrated as a layered system, meaning security is implemented throughout the network, because simply adding security as an additional feature at the end of development (air-gap security) leaves the network vulnerable as it is only a perimeter-based measure of defense. One beneficial aspect of time-sensitive networking is its ability to determine the exact instance data was sent and when it is supposed to arrive; if anyone intercepts packets of data it will be easy to tell. That being said, TSNs require a central management aspect that have the power to alter entire networks, which could be a challenge in terms of developing security.

The use of deterministic Ethernet will alter the various safety systems for TSNs by allowing messages to be scheduled from safety applications in order to provide high availability for safety systems. The real-time, synchronous mechanisms of the deterministic Ethernet will enable the connection of more devices and more machines, creating a powerful and integrated IIoT. Mike Justice, president of Grid Connect, believes that its use as a control network has the potential to replace other existing networks such as Profibus and DeviceNet.

As the real-time capabilities of deterministic Ethernet continue to develop, there will be several applications that will benefit from the use of a TSN. Machine-to-machine communication would improve as it needs to operate with low latency and high synchronization. Safety-based communications could access data more efficiently as it is currently mostly done through hardwiring. General motion and robot controls would improve as accessing data through standard communication could be done with ease. Essentially any latency-sensitive application would be much improved through the use of a TSN.

Another interesting application of a TSN can be observed through cloud and edge computing as they provide an infrastructure that will improve the functionality IoT technology. The use of deterministic Ethernet through TSNs could theoretically allow for machine control to be executed within a cloud environment, but there isn’t much room for error regarding latency in communication. Even though consumer and industrial applications of cloud-based machine control have different demands in terms of real-time dependency and data consumption, they are still in the foreseeable future if network stability can be established. Private, local clouds have had success in controlling machines, but large public clouds are more concerning with problems such as technical issues, data confidentiality, and security.

Time-sensitive networking is a feasible option for advancing the IIoT as long as it delivers on its promises of speed and security. It will be a major improvement to converge from information technology (IT) to operational technology (OT) in regards to the security and integration of cloud services. Justice states that “The controls industry is conservative and will follow the IT market in a few years after security issues are well-addressed.” The ability of TSNs to connect machines to the cloud and create real-time data messaging and analytics will improve the overall functionality of the IIoT.

 

Read more at: https://www.controldesign.com/articles/2016/how-time-sensitive-networking-enables-the-iiot/?start=4

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The NET-Wars (Fieldbus wars reloaded)

[fa icon='calendar'] Mar 29, 2016 2:06:27 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in connectors, Ethernet, General, IEEE, industrial ethernet, industrial ethernet fieldbus, PROFINET, security

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Industrial Ethernet fieldbus issues of the past are coming to life again in a new form. Large protocol interest groups and manufacturers of industrial equipment have a new platform to compete for revenue and to keep brand loyalty. Ethernet-based protocols are changing with time, many companies have similar protocol implementations as they essentially have been creating the same standard Ethernet connectors. The biggest issue at hand today is that there is no interoperability between software, for instance, Ethercat doesn’t connect with Profinet and Profinet doesn’t connect to Ethernet IP. Time Sensitive Networks (TSN), which is part of the IEEE standards association, is attempting to enhance Ethernet standards by making high accuracy time synchronization and seamless redundancy features of standard Ethernet. As industrial Ethernet continues to develop, the biggest concern is if security standards will be integrated into new protocol.

Read more: http://www.procentec.com/about/news/2016/the-net-wars-fieldbus-wars-reloaded/

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New Product Alert: HF-A21 High Performance Embedded WiFi Module - 802.11 b/g/n

[fa icon='calendar'] Dec 4, 2015 11:06:16 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in 2.4 GHz, 802.11b/g/n, antenna, AP, AP+STA, AT+, embedded module, Ethernet, Ethernet-to-WiFi Router/Bridge, General, HF-A21, high speed UART, Infrastructure Station, Products, soft access point, STA, surface mount, temperature, Wi-Fi, wifi, Wireless

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hf-a21-smt-int_a2_1500x1500Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 4.49.30 PM

The HF-A21 module is a compact high performance WiFi module providing 802.11b/g/n 2.4 GHz WiFi networking for a printed circuit board device design. With a rich feature set and an industrial temperature range, this surface mount embedded module is well suited for many applications even in harsh environments. A small footprint makes the HF-A21 easy to use in handheld devices.

Available with 2 antenna options, the HF-A21 module provides design flexibility to meet specific application requirements or can be used in existing device designs.

The interface with the HF-A21 is via 10/100 Ethernet and high speed UART. Using either the user-friendly web page or an AT+ instruction set, this module is easy to configure. The HF-A21 can operate in Infrastructure Station (STA) mode, Soft Access Point (AP) mode or AP+STA mode. Support for Ethernet-to-WiFi Router/Bridge mode networking is also provided.

HF-A11 Ordering Summary:

Part # Antenna/Connector Type
GC-HF-A21-SMT-EXT U.FL/I-PEX Antenna Connector
GC-HF-A21-SMT-INT Internal PCB Antenna

Call for Volume Pricing.

Support:
The knowledgeable and experienced engineers at Grid Connect provide complete technical support for the HF-A11 and the High Flying line of embedded WiFi modules. We offer phone support and on-line chat support during regular business hours.

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 4.49.30 PM

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IoT Design Considerations: Network

[fa icon='calendar'] Aug 19, 2015 2:31:12 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in 10 IoT Design Considerations, Bluetooth, Ethernet, Internet of Things, IoT, Network capabilities, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, ZigBee

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Manufacturers have many hardware and software options when it comes to network technology for their IoT-enabled products. Some devices can be directly connected to the Internet using networking such as Ethernet and Wi-Fi, which are based on the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP), a set of communications protocols providing end-to-end connectivity. Other products may use wireless technologies; some of which include TCP/IP, but will require a “gateway,” or a “hub” to convert the chosen network to either Ethernet or Wi-Fi, such as ZigBee or Z-Wave. Some of the many technologies available include:

  • Ethernet
  • Wi-Fi
  • IPv6 over Low Power Wireless Personal Area Networks (6LoWPAN)
  • ZigBee
  • Z-Wave
  • Bluetooth
  • Bluetooth Smart e.g. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Bluetooth (BT) 4.0, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Cellular

To download the complete Internet of Things Design Considerations White Paper, click here: http://gridconnect.com/10-internet-of-things-design-considerations

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Grid Connect is a World Class Manufacturer

[fa icon='calendar'] Aug 17, 2015 8:59:54 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in 900MHz, BLE, Bluetooth, CANbus, chips, connection, Custom, development, DeviceNet, Ethernet, firmware, General, Grid Connect, hardware, I2C, Illinois, manufacturer, manufacturing, modbus, modbus tcp, modules, Naperville, network, NRE, packaging, private-labeled, PROFIBUS, PROFINET, RS-232, RS-422, RS-485, software, SPI, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, wifi

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WeAre_Banner_Manufacturer_2

Grid Connect Inc. is an ISO 9001-certified, world-class quality manufacturer. Our chips, modules and products are used by thousands of companies around the world to provide a network connection to their devices. All of our products are designed, assembled, programmed and tested in Illinois, USA. All final tests, firmware loading and packaging is done at Grid Connect in Naperville, Illinois.

All Grid Connect products can be customized and private-labeled to a specific customer’s requirements. It can be as simple as a software change to increase buffer sizes or as complex as a new hardware and software design. In all cases, Grid Connect will provide your company with a fixed price quotation for the NRE/development work and the production cost for the final product. We are happy to private label your product and ship it to you with the correct labeling and documentation.

Some networking and protocol technologies that Grid Connect specializes in, include:

  • Ethernet
  • Ethernet/IP
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth
  • ZigBee
  • 900MHz
  • PROFIBUS
  • PROFINET
  • CANbus
  • DeviceNet
  • Modbus
  • Modbus TCP

Grid Connect also specialized in all serial standards, including:

  • RS-232
  • RS-485
  • RS-422
  • SPI
  • I2C


For more specific detailing of the various hardware and software options we provide, call the Grid Connect office at +1 (800) 975-GRID or fill out the form here.

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IoT Design Considerations: Cost

[fa icon='calendar'] Aug 12, 2015 2:28:08 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in 10 IoT Design Considerations, Bluetooth, Cloud services, Ethernet, General, Internet of Things, IoT, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, ZigBee

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Connecting products to the Internet of Things (IoT) is essential to manufacturers looking to stay competitive within their industry. Adding IoT capabilities allows the manufacturer to stay connected with their customer, while discovering new product uses and applications that open them up to new revenue streams. However, these added benefits come with a cost. Connected devices come with a higher manufacturing overhead, but may also be sold with a bigger price tag.

Wi-Fi and Ethernet connections can be added to products for less than $10 in bill of materials costs. Other technologies, such as ZigBee, Z-Wave and Bluetooth, can be added for a lower price, but may require a separate bridge to connect to the Internet and access Cloud services.

To download the complete Internet of Things Design Considerations White Paper, click here.

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Grid Connect is an All-Inclusive Development Partner

[fa icon='calendar'] Jul 20, 2015 8:52:42 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in 900 MHz, Android, app, applications, apps, BLE, Bluetooth, build, CE, certifications, Cloud, connectsense, design, embedded, encryption, engineer, engineering, Ethernet, FCC, General, Grid Connect, hardware, iOS, layout, networking, OS, prototype, RoHS, security, Serial, smart phone, software, SSL, UL, web page, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, wifi, Wireless

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WeAre_Banner_DevelopmentPartner_2

A Complete Development Partner for Hardware, Software, Apps and Cloud Services

Grid Connect Inc. has one of the best engineering teams in the world. Our strong development team can quickly and effectively implement your partial or complete networking/cloud-based or embedded product. For more than 20 years we have been helping customers put networking technology into their products. In the past the focus has been Ethernet, serial and propriety networks. Now days, the focus is on wireless networks like Wi-Fi, ZigBee, Bluetooth/BLE and 900 MHz.

A few of Grid Connect’s many development capabilities include:

  • Designing, layout and quick turn prototype hardware
  • Designing, programming and debugging embedded software
  • Designing and building iOS and Android smart phone and tablet applications
  • Designing, building and rolling out complete cloud/web applications
  • Embedded Linux or Real-time OS driver development
  • SSL security and hardware and software encryption option
  • Production of custom hardware
  • Embedded Web page development
  • Pre-loading of custom/customer firmware on to standard modules
  • Complete diagnostic testing of hardware and software prior to shipment
  • Work with test labs to complete FCC, CE, UL, and RoHS certifications
  • Custom labeling

 

The ConnectSense Case Study

With the ConnectSense brand of products, we took Grid Connect’s embedded networking expertise and put it to use in the consumer home automation/Internet of Things marketplace. In creating ConnectSense, we built a full end-to-end solution, which incorporated custom hardware, embedded Linux development, a custom cloud solution, and custom enclosures and sensors.

Since releasing ConnectSense to the market in 2013, we have continued to move our technology forward. With the ConnectSense Smart Outlet we have made great strides in easy setup and provisioning of devices, smaller and more affordable designs and development of apps for iOS. The ConnectSense Smart Outlet also represents the first generation of devices that are Apple HomeKit-enabled allowing for great features such as Siri voice control, end-to-end encryption and ease of use.

The ConnectSense product line allows Grid Connect to prove out its technology at scale and improve it over time. This allows us to then take that same great technology and help customers implement IoT solutions in their own products. Rather than starting from scratch, our customers benefit from our wealth of knowledge developing IoT products. This allows for quick time to market, lower cost implementations and less custom work required on projects.


To discuss development partner solutions for your company, please call the Grid Connect office at +1 (800) 975-GRID or fill out the form here.

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New Product Alert: CloudGate 3G/4G LTE Cellular Kits (Serial, Ethernet or WiFi)

[fa icon='calendar'] Jul 13, 2015 8:27:32 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in 3G, 4G, ablet, cellular, cellular networks, CloudGate, CloudGate Universe, Ethernet, gateway, General, GPS, hardware, home servers, LAN, Local Area Network, LTE, monitor, PCt, Products, Serial, smartphone, software, Wireless Wide Area Network, WWAN, watchdogs, wifi

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cgThe CloudGate Kits (Serial, Ethernet, WiFi) provided by Grid Connect are comprised of all the CloudGate components required to move local data to the cloud via 3G/LTE cellular data.

The CloudGate Gateway provides cost effective Local Area Network (LAN) to Wireless Wide Area Network (WWAN) routing with GPS functionality built in. The CloudGate base unit is a compact, reliable, secure, and flexible solution to move critical data to the cloud. The CloudGate Gateway supports both 3G and 4G LTE wireless data interfaces and is certified on all major US cellular networks.

The Gateway is also easy to configure locally or remotely from a PC, tablet or Smartphone. CloudGate automatically resolves common problems associated with wireless machine to machine connectivity. Built-in software and hardware watchdogs continuously monitor each component of the product and its connectivity to home servers. In the event an issue is detected, the product proactively takes steps to re-establish connectivity. All software and configuration images are protected with digital signatures and have dual rollback images that allow the product to revert to previous working settings if an issue is detected. All management functions are protected by certificate and/or password based security mechanisms and all management actions take place over hardware-assisted encrypted links.

The CloudGate Gateway is supported by the CloudGate Universe provisioning system. An automated cloud provisioning system means that each CloudGate can be set with its own custom configuration and image that is automatically loaded from the cloud when the unit initially connects to the Internet.

For more information, and ordering options visit our website by clicking here.

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Wi-Fi - High Performance (A11) Modules

[fa icon='calendar'] Jul 6, 2015 8:33:55 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in 3.3V operation, 802.11b/g/n, A11, access point, antennas, baseband processor, CE Certified, circuit board, configuration utility, Dial Switch, DIP, Ethernet, Ethernet MAC, ethernet to wi-fi, external antennas, FCC, Flash memory, General, high performance modules, Internal chip, IPEX/U.FL antenna connector, IPEX/U.FL connector, IPv4, IPv6, Linux Operating System, local chip antenna, Low Cost High Performance MCU, networking stack, power amplifier, Products, RAM memory, Remote Firmware, RF transceiver, RoHS compliant, router, Serial to Ethernet, serial to wi-fi, Serial UART, SMA antenna connector, SMA connectors, Smart Link, SMT, STA / AP / AP+STA Modes, surface mount, Wi-Fi, wireless firmware, WEP / WPA / WPA2 security modes, Wi-Fi modules, Wi-Fi protocol, Wireless, Wireless MAC, wireless modules

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The High-Flying A11 modules are design for high performance applications normally, using 802.11b/g/n, Ethernet, and local serial ports. The A11 is available in two formats – SMT (surface mount) and DIP (2x7pins). A11 integrates an Ethernet and Wireless MAC, a baseband processor, a RF transceiver along with a power amplifier. The on-board software includes a complete Wi-Fi protocol, configuration utility and networking stack. Applications include access points, routers, serial to Ethernet, serial to Wi-Fi, Ethernet to Wi-Fi bridging and many others.gc-hf-a11_1_1The A11 integrates all Wi-Fi functionality into a low-profile SMT or DIP module package that can be easily mounted on a printed circuit board. The different A11 modules connect to antennas using the local chip antenna (INT), external antennas through the standard IPEX/U.FL connector, or directly through the on-board SMA connectors.

Features:

  • Serial UART, Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n applications
  • WEP / WPA / WPA2 security modes
  • Low Cost High Performance MCU
  • AP, Router, Bridge, converter applications
  • Includes all the protocol and configuration functions
  • Supports STA / AP / AP+STA Modes
  • Supports Smart Link Function
  • Supports Wireless and Remote Firmware Upgradeable
  • External IPEX/U.FL antenna connector option
  • Internal chip or SMA antenna connector options
  • Supports Dial Switch to Control Power
  • Additional Flash/RAM memory for applications
  • Compact SMT or DIP modules
  • Full IPv4 and IPv6 stack
  • Embedded and Flexible Linux Operating System
  • FCC, CE Certified
  • RoHS compliant
  • Single supply – 3.3V operation

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 4.30.35 PM

 

Ordering Information
Part Numbers / Description / Call for OEM volume pricing

GC-HF-A11-EXT A11 External IPEX/U.FL connector
GC-HF-A11-SMA A11 SMA antenna
GC-HF-A11-INT A11 Internal chip antenna
GC-HF-A11-EVAL A11 Evaluation Kit

GC-HF-A11-SMT-EXT A11 Surface Mount External IPEX/U.FL connector
GC-HF-A11-SMT-INT A11 Surface Mount Internal chip antenna
GC-HF-A11-SMT-EVAL A11 Surface Mount Evaluation Kit

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The Power of Ethernet

[fa icon='calendar'] Jun 1, 2015 8:37:08 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in adapters, bridge antennas, bridges, building automation, Ethernet, fiber ports, General, gigabit switches, Industrial, industrial ethernet adapter, managed switches, medical, PoE, PoE powered devices, PoE splitters, PoE switches, Power-over-Ethernet, Products, Switches, unmanaged switches, WiFi bridges, Wi-Fi bridges

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ethernet
Ethernet
is one of the primary standards for connecting all types of devices found in industrial, medical, building automation and many other applications. Grid Connect provides a wide range of Ethernet products and Industrial Ethernet adapters including a growing selection of Power over Ethernet (PoE) products.

Types of Ethernet products proudly manufactured and distributed by Grid Connect include:

For more information and to view all Industrial Ethernet products designed to fit your needs, click here or call the Grid Connect office at +1 (630) 245-1445.

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