Universal Protocol Converter Gateways

All IPCOMM gateways rely on a unique data conversion concept called ipConv, where data is converted from a protocol-specific to a standardized protocol-independent representation and back again. It offers the highest degree of flexibility and modular expansion allowing decoupling of different protocols.

As protocols are kept completely separate with respect to data transmission methods and information representation, the solution greatly facilitates system planning and commissioning. For instance, the different protocols can be tested separately.

The ipConv concept provides maximum flexibility for configuring the optimal gateway for any protocol conversion application: based on IPCOMM's standard, high-performance hardware devices, the different protocol stacks can be purchased as software licenses.

 (In case the customer would like to apply other hardware platforms, the IPCOMM software solutions ipConvOPC (Windows-based) and ipConv/VM (as a Virtual Appliance) can be deployed on the customer's hardware, too.)

Multiple protocols can be used simultaneously. If more protocols shall be used at the same time, an additional license can be purchased.

(The permanent protocol licenses which are delivered with the gateway vary depending on product type. Please contact us for more information!)

Configuring the optimal gateway can be done literally within minutes, in 2 simple steps:

  1. Protocol Selection: select the appropriate field device protocols (eg. Modbus RTU Master, IEC 60870-5-101, etc.) and IT-side protocols (OPC UA 1.02 Client, MQTT, Database Client, etc.).
  1. Feature Selection: select the specific features for your application, such as:
  • Required performance (information changes per second)
  • Number and type of serial interfaces (RS232/422/485)
  • Number of Ethernet interfaces
  • Redundancy (stand-alone / redundant)
  • Power supply.

 

The general characteristics of ipConv gateways:

  • Security at the highest level
  • Communication between multiple data sources
  • Simultaneous use of diverse protocols
  • User-defined mapping of information
  • Intelligent information processing
  • Support of industry-standard protocols
  • No programming required

 

Cyber Security:

  • Secure access to all administrative services (HTTPS, SSH, SFTP)
  • Role-based access protection with login and password
  • User administration for local users
  • Central user administration via Active Directory (LDAP) and/or RADIUS
  • Crypto Store for certificate management
  • Creation of self-signed certificates and Certificate Signing Requests (CSRs)
  • Import and export of certificates
  • Configuration of VPN tunnels (OpenVPN and IPsec)
  • Firewall
  • Safeguarded real-time Linux operating system

 

Network Features:

  • Assigning multiple IP addresses to one physical Ethernet interface
  • Network management using an integrated SNMP agent
  • NTP based clock synchronization
  • HTTPS/SSH/SFTP access
  • DHCP
  • Bonding
  • PRP
  • VLAN

 

Configuration:

System configuration is completely executed in a web browser. No other special configuration tools are required, a normal notebook with a network interface card and web browser are all that is needed.

ipConv in its current version 3 enables encrypted communication between web server and browser via HTTPS protocol.

The first page provides access to all relevant functions of ipConv, showing the overall system status at a glance.


 

Simulation:

ipConv is capable of representing and simulating all signals in a simple project-specific form, a functionality which is particularly useful for signal tests during commissioning. This greatly facilitates tracking down of wiring and configuration errors.

All data points can be shown in a hierarchical form defined by the configuration. Names, nesting depth and signal range can be freely chosen and configured for each project. This enables personnel not familiar with ipConv and the relevant protocol to access information.


 

Redundancy:

To meet even increased security requirements, ipConv is fully capable of redundancy in combination with a second device: Line redundancy (hot-standby); Information redundancy; Device redundancy (parallel operation).

With redundant protocol converters, reliability can be ensured, based on the "hot standby" principle. At any one time only one device assumes the active role, while the passive device monitors the active one and takes the initiative if it fails.

This minimizes downtimes due to maintenance work or component and interface outages, for example.

The redundancy coupling can be realized via Ethernet as well as over serial connections. If separate serial communication connections must be connected to both redundant devices, the CS channel switch will be applied.


 

Please find below the main products of the ipConv gateway family:

 

ipConv: universal protocol converter for highest degree of flexibility.

ipConvLite: universal protocol converter for small and distributed applications.

ip4Cloud: link critical processes securely to MES/SCADA/Cloud services.

ipRoute: router for IEC 870-5-101 and IEC 870-5-104 protocols.