Applying SNMP to the OT level is now a reality

John Browett, general manager at the CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA), looks at SNMP, its benefits as well as how, when combined with the right network, it can support industrial automation and control applications.

Engineers can gain a unique insight into the health and performance of their networks and devices thanks to Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). Its use is key to advance industrial automation and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) applications, and it is now closer to becoming a reality, thanks to one future-oriented network technology.

SNMP has been widely used throughout all information technology (IT) domains since its foundation, in the 1980s. It sits on the application layer of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model to support the management and monitoring of devices connected over Internet Protocol (IP) networks. These include Ethernet switches, as well as any device that supports IP or Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) communication, such as bridges, routers, access servers, computer hosts, hubs, printers and cameras. In effect, all these devices come with bundled SNMP agents.

The technology is used extensively as it collects key data that can help IT professionals be aware of the status of all their managed devices and applications. In effect, every network component can be queried in real time to look at their performance metrics through management information base (MIB) files.

Also, if thresholds for certain values are exceeded, system administrators can be promptly alerted, supporting quick troubleshooting and advanced productivity. Due to the recent advances in SNMP cybersecurity, the solution can also be used to streamline the configuration and modification of devices within a network.

Applying the benefits of SNMP to OT

While the IT world has been leveraging SNMP for decades, the operational technology (OT) domain has been lagging behind in the adoption of this solution, despite its capabilities and the opportunities it presents. As IIoT applications become increasingly crucial to drive a business’ competitiveness, the paradigm must shift. In effect, future-oriented communications need to rely on converged architectures, where IT and OT data are transferred by the same infrastructure.

By being able to apply the SNMP protocol to converged networks, companies can therefore continue to benefit from advanced management capabilities and rapid diagnostics for IT systems as well as provide these to OT communications too. This means that the ideal network should be able to support the protocol.

More and more automation devices are beginning to offer SNMP ports, however industrial communications solutions for the shop floor typically do not offer this function. The main reason behind this is the historic potential for disruption of security, stability and determinism on these networks, the avoidance of which is paramount.

The latest advances in the field are able to resolve these issues. Firstly, the newest SNMPv3 introduces key elements that address the vulnerabilities of previous versions, for example by means of an enhanced security system that authenticates messages and ensures their privacy. Simultaneously, Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) is improving standard industrial Ethernet by enabling the transfer of multiple types of data traffic on one single cable while maintaining deterministic performance for time-critical OT communications.

Driving convergence and network management

Therefore, there are tools at hand that can be used to create converged, SNMP supported communications. As a network technology developed to enable the creation of forward-looking IIoT frameworks, CC-Link IE TSN is designed to offer convergence and SNMP functions.

In effect, this innovative solution is the first open industrial Ethernet to feature gigabit bandwidth and TSN functions, driving the setup of data-driven, interconnected factories. In addition, the compatibility with SNMP empowers users to collect device status information on industrial automation products, as well as other nodes. As a result, it is possible to improve network diagnostic capabilities, reducing system start-up times as well as the amount of time and effort spent on system administration and maintenance.

By selecting CC-Link IE TSN and its continuously expanding range of certified products, companies can get the most out of enabling network technologies. This, in turn, helps them bring their communications to the next level, driving up their productivity and competitiveness now and in the future.

CLPA Europe

Travellers Lane
AL10 8XB

01707 278953 or 02102 486 1750

More products
19 hours ago
Selective robot integration adds value in pharmaceutical manufacturing
With a rapidly growing demand for the technology, the number of industrial automation vendors offering TSN-compatible devices continues to grow, reports CLPA.
22 hours ago
Mouser Electronics wins gold in 2023 TDK European Distribution Awards
Mouser Electronics has won gold in the e-Catalogue Distributor category as part of the TDK European Distribution Award 2023.
23 hours ago
International online event from Eplan addresses best practice
What challenges are machine builders and switchgear system manufacturers facing in today’s global markets? How can the right course be set for efficient engineering at an early stage in the game? This year’s Eplan L!ve 2023 event on 21 June 2023 is providing distilled answers.
4 days ago
Cranfield University team up with the RBTX UK team
In this video you can see how Cranfield University and the Igus RBTX team came together, with a snapshot into the recent event that took place.
4 days ago
Lenze opens door to digitalisation at ITMA
Lenze is using ITMA as a platform to showcase how textile machine providers can exploit the opportunities of digitalisation and be ready for future challenges with today’s solutions.
5 days ago
New Norgren website offers extended self-serve functionality
Norgren has launched its enhanced global website, offering customers improved functionality that includes the ability to select, order and track products on a ‘self-serve’ basis.
6 days ago
Spelsberg UK announces nationwide roadshow and open day
Spelsberg UK is excited to announce its “Spelsberg on the Road” roadshow. A state-of-the-art tour bus, equipped with a working showroom, will visit numerous locations across the country beginning late May.
6 days ago
Single controller for robot and machine axes optimises productivity
Installing a robotic pick-and-place and integrated conveyor solution has increased productivity for a pharmaceutical manufacturer while maintaining regulatory compliance. Combining a vision system optimised for accuracy that assures end-to-end traceability, a single controller from Trio manages both the robot and conveyor axes, increasing reliability for the end user.
1 week ago
Schaeffler rewards suppliers for outstanding performance
Schaeffler presented 19 of its suppliers with the Schaeffler Supplier Award at the Supplier Day in Herzogenaurach, Germany, in honour of their exceptional performance.
1 week ago
Educational programme announced for Manufacturing and Engineering Week
With just under two weeks until Manufacturing and Engineering Week 2023 and its centrepiece exhibitions open their doors on 7th and 8th of June at Birmingham’s NEC, the full educational programme has been announced.

Login / Sign up