Marvell has launched a suite of chips designed to bring Ethernet to factory and industrial settings. The chips include many security features in addition to time-sensitive networking. And because Marvell believes it’s time for IIoT to get a dose of Internet Protocol (IP), it has consolidated these features into a single unit, lowering costs and signaling that demand has reached a point where the integration effort makes sense.
Before your very eyes you wonder why I spend so much time on the networking segment, bear with me. This is not just an advertisement for a chip. It is a milestone that the differences in operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) are finally converging. Once they converge everything will be IP. The result will be a huge up and down traditional IT vendor market. It will also put traditional OT sellers on the defensive.
This week brought Marvell’s announcement as well as the launch of the Arduino Opta programmable logic controller (PLC). In the previous week, we saw funding for a company building cloud-based PLCs as well as news of an alliance between several Chip companies to create an open software package would bring OPC Data from PLCs to the IT network. The goal is to run OPC data from an OT network over Ethernet on the FreeRTOS real-time operating system popular in embedded electronics.
These announcements lay the groundwork for more data from the industrial side of the process in the IT side. With the launch of Opta, engineers who work with industrial machines can now build prototypes that pull sensor data into the IT network. Opta PLC can handle industrial protocols such as Modbus and SCADA, but it also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios. This isn’t something designed for large-scale deployment in industrial settings, but an opportunity to get traditional embedded engineers comfortable with IP networking.
And they need that level of comfort. The Reddit page for PLCs It is divided equally between those who are excited to try it and those who will Start Ever Bring any wireless device into their industrial environment, especially Wi-Fi. However, there are also some misunderstandings on the subject about Wi-Fi usage. Many embedded engineers could be drawn to using Wi-Fi to export data from the PLC, but they would never use it to send communications from the sensors to the PLC and then back to the sensors.
One reason is that PLCs are used to control expensive and dangerous machines, and reliability and response time are very important. When it comes to the Internet of Things, lost or delayed packets can lead to safety issues. They can also end up costing companies a lot of money if the device does not receive a shutdown message in time. This is it Where it plays the role of Time Sensitive Networks (TSN). For years, companies have been pushing for TSN over Ethernet and even Wi-Fi to try to get engineers and plant managers integrated into IP technology. Marvel’s announcement means those efforts are finally paying off.
But how far will the embedded world go, and how fast? That’s what I’m wondering about as I report to you on the effort to bring TSN to Wi-Fi 7 for industrial Wi-Fi use cases And read about startups like Software Defined Automation, which has raised $10 million for it Virtual programmable logic controllers. It’s crazy to me that plant managers are going to want to manage PLCs that are in the cloud, but because of events like COVID and the trend of getting people out of factories, that’s going to happen.
The embedded and industrial world has always been backwards in the name of keeping manufacturing and other vital processes reliable and secure. But the IT world is hungry for new business, and the advantages of combining IT and OT are clear when data on one side can feed into decisions made on the other (and vice versa). Information technology converges with operational technology, and it all happens on the Internet Protocol.
#Industrial #IoT #handle #Stacy #Internet