Well the IIoT revolution is here. There is a lot to learn. SCADA has a lot of similarities to IoT but there are a lot of differences.
To keep ahead I ordered a couple of these IoT Gateways from Elecsys Corp. The units came in on Friday. Jaden and I cracked the box towards the end of the day. Nobody seems to do box opening posts for industrial equipment so I figured I might as well do one! Haha.
Both units were packed in the same box. They used some high end closed cell foam to pack with. I ordered a basic RediGate 110e (Ethernet/serial version, no cell modem) and a RediGate 400c (got the cell modem with this one). I also made sure to ask for a stubby antenna to come with the RG400c so I could use the built-in cell modem on the work bench.
When I started digging into the kits I was pleasantly surprised to see both units came with a bit of lead wire attached to the power terminals. Digging further I noticed that they also came with DIN rail mounting accessories, which are usually optional on other industrial communications gear. The 110e also came with a 9-pin serial breakout board, which was super cool! Those boards can be handy if you are stuck in the field without the right parts to build a cable. I hear Cory Crowe’s voice in my head, “Every programmer needs to know how to build their own cables.”
A few things to note:
- The RediGate 110e also comes in a version with a cell modem, the 110c. These are similar in size to a Microhard IPn3G/4G modems and should fit in almost any RTU cabinet in the field with room for a data radio or cell modem.
- The units that have cell modems can be used as serial terminal servers (at least it looks that way from the documentation). So in the short term end-users could install a RediGate in place of a cell modem and future proof their installation. I plan to prove this in testing on the bench in the coming weeks.
- The RediGate 400 is pretty large and would be best suited for larger facility installs. It is feature packed for its size and includes a lot of extra ports and functionality that I plan to explore. It also has options for I/O boards, so for some applications you may not need more than the RG400 with an optional I/O card.
- Both units have all the networking and security capabilities of Linux (iptables, routing, OpenVPN, etc.). So they should be incredibly flexible for different setups, including firewall, routing, bridging networks and more.
- Both units talk just about any major industrial protocol, serial and Ethernet, including Ethernet IP, Modbus, TotalFlow, DNP3, etc. I think there were 40+ protocols on the list last time I checked.
- The only major protocol missing for me is ROC Protocol for regular Floboss units (they do support ROC Plus though).
- Data can be presented to a remote host in a Modbus map or pushed using a variety of IoT protocols and formats. There are example configurations for connecting these units up to AWS or Azure.
Pricing? A RediGate 110C (p/n: RG-110C-22-00, the little guy with a cell modem) will retail for around $1,350 CAD. A RediGate 400 (RG-400C-22-00, also with a cell modem) runs about $2,000 CAD. JPI Solutions can bring these in for you if you want one.