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Advanced Engineering 2021

NEC Birmingham(B40 1NT)

03/11/2021 - 04/11/2021

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Netbiter EC350 gateway simplifies access to remote equipment

Netbiter EC350 gateway simplifies access to remote equipment The need to monitor and manage remote assets, both fixed and mobile, is increasingly common for many engineers. The technology to enable this is evolving and developing rapidly. Engineers are under increasing pressure to reduce costs, improve quality, and optimise plant utilisation: assuming of course that they know where their remote assets are and can monitor them.

The Netbiter EasyConnect EC350 from HMS Industrial Networks is the first in a new generation of Netbiter remote communication gateways designed to enable users to monitor and control installations remotely by providing instant access to local and remote equipment. One important new feature requested by users is the addition of a Remote Access mode that enables the gateway to provide a secure, transparent communication  tunnel directly with the remote equipment.

The Remote Access mode allows programmable logic controllers (PLCs) variable speed drives (VSDs), human-machine interfaces (HMIs) and similar intelligent devices to be programmed remotely using their own software through the Netbiter EC350 without using modems or virtual private networks (VPN).  For example, with a Netbiter connected to a remote PLC, it is possible to perform debugging or programming of the device from any location.

Netbiter EC350 offers a cost effective way to remotely monitor and control buildings and equipment.  Prices start from £608 and for smaller users wanting a LAN connection there are no running or implementation costs for using the Remote Access mode, with up to 1GB of data per month completely free. For users choosing a GPRS/3G connection there is only the SIM card costs which can be sourced from any mobile phone provider.  M2M/Data SIM cards are recommended.

Part of the proven Netbiter remote management family, EC350 is twenty times more powerful than earlier models, yet the new features mean it is easily integrated into new and existing equipment, including both fixed and moving plant.  

Wherever the equipment is located, it is simple to connect it to an EC350 gateway and start to receive data instantly, allowing users to take control of their assets.  The built-in GPS receiver makes it suitable for fleet management users to establish the geographical location of mobile assets and track/log them using Google Earth or similar mapping software. Geo-fencing is also possible.

Upstream gateway connectivity is via Ethernet or cellular communications: two fully separated Ethernet interfaces (WAN & LAN) to provide secure communications to the field installation; onboard quad-band GPRS, and five band 3G GSM wireless access are also provided. For downstream connectivity the standard options include: discrete digital and analogue I/O; RS-232; RS-485, and Ethernet, Ethernet I/P, SNMP; Modbus TCP; Modbus RTU protocols.

Another of the big benefits of Netbiter EC350 is that it requires no specialist IT infrastructure, no VPN (virtual private network), and no static IP address to get it running. Netbiter's firewall-friendly communication protocol will not affect existing broadband security infrastructure, which makes it immediately acceptable to most IT Departments.

Users can open up a secure connection to remote machinery and configure or operate it from any location using standard software applications. Data acquired by the Netbiter is accessed using a standard web browser, and ready-made web page dashboards for solutions such as: power generators; water/waste water management;  base stations;  BMS/HVAC (building management systems/heating ventilation air conditioning); energy metering and renewables such as wind turbines make creation of user dashboards very easy to create.

By minimising any IT issues, Netbiter EasyConnect ensures devices and equipment are connected quickly.  The plug and play feature makes it possible to perform large scale installations quickly without being an IT/mobile network expert. Simplicity is the key and this is what the Netbiter EasyConnect gateways offer. Netbiter supports auto-detection of devices being attached to it. The system automatically installs and commissions the gateway and instantly reports data to the server. Again, no specialist knowledge is required during system setup.

To simplify new installation and eliminate configuration errors, a library of existing OEM device templates is available for download from the HMS website. Ready-made web page dashboards for popular solutions help users design their site layout quickly and easily.These dashboards are fully customisable to suit individual requirements.

To manage the data from remote EC350 gateway, the user has access to a cloud-based server using HMS's proprietary Argos secure data storage centre. Automatic integration with the Netbiter Argos data centre ensures easy web based management of all the users' remote sites. Argos data centre charges are based on data usage and the first 50k of time-stamped data points are free. A single EC350 can monitor up to sixteen discrete devices or a network of intelligent devices such as generators, uninterruptable power supplies (UPSs), VSDs, PLCs and HMIs. If the application requires more than the integral onboard  digital and analogue I/O, this can be supplemented by adding additional discrete I/O modules as required.

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