Industrial automation systems are expensive assets, designed to offer reliable performance for years. Typically, industrial systems last for decades. It is impractical than to discard these existing systems when new technology becomes available. So, how do businesses remain competitive and efficient if they cannot afford to adopt new technology? The scenario is common today for most industrial setups as they look to reap the benefits of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) by establishing a connected environment, but their legacy systems prevent them from bringing the change.

Luckily, there are devices that you can use to connect these legacy systems to IoT networks using Modbus. Developed in 1979 by Modicon, Modbus is an open, non-proprietary communication protocol that lets industrial systems to communicate with each other, gather data, and transmit results to a computer. It functions using master/slave architecture, where the master is a device that requests information, and slave is one that supplies the information. A standard Modbus network consists of one Master and up to 247 slaves, with each slave having a unique address from 1 to 247.

Most industrial systems and sensing devices have used this protocol, and many new systems still use it. As such, Modbus is a time-tested protocol that is likely to stay even longer even if modern communication protocols come into existence. It also means that the protocol is an excellent candidate to consider when developing new technologies such as IoT, as it ensures that even older systems can take advantage of the latest advancements.

If your existing sensors or PLC feature serial ports and use Modbus protocols, be it RTU or TCP/IP, you can bring these systems to a connected world, even if they were never developed initially for IoT. Omega’s Layer N is the latest ecosystem of smart products that enables this possibility and gets your legacy application connected quickly. By leveraging Modbus protocol, these devices connect your eligible existing systems to the Industrial IoT network on cloud and provide you with immediate access to actionable insights anytime, anywhere.

Connecting Your Modbus Devices to Cloud with Layer N Gateway

Layer N Gateway connects your Modbus devices, collects data from them, and transmits the collected data securely to the cloud. The Gateway features Modbus RTU RS232/RS485 connections for your standalone systems as well as an Ethernet port to connect your Modbus TCP compatible devices. The device also uses AES-256 encryption for secure wireless communication.

Additionally, you can also take advantage of long-range smart sensors in Layer N ecosystem that comes with multiple sensing capabilities as well as smart probes that can pair with the Gateway through the push of a button. Capable of transmitting signals up to 3.2 kilometers, these smart sensors collect data continuously even when the power goes out.

Benefits of Connecting Your Modbus Devices to Cloud

When you combine these Layer N smart sensors and Gateway with your existing Modbus devices, you’re essentially creating a robust connected environment, specific to your industrial setup. Together, these devices intelligently transport data to Layer N cloud, so that you can access live data from anywhere, on any device. The cloud service also lets you perform powerful analysis and set up alarms and notifications to optimize and monitor your connected applications.

Devices You’ll Need to Set up Connected Applications

If you’re planning to establish a connected environment using your legacy systems, the first thing you’d want to ensure is that your existing devices support the Modbus protocol. Secondly, you’ll need a Gateway that has support for Modbus devices, and finally, a computing system for data storage and analysis. This system can be on-premise, such as a local server, or it can be on the cloud. Using cloud resources lets you access information from anywhere, on any device. It also eliminates the burden of managing infrastructure and dealing with security issues.

Expand Your Possibilities with Connected Environment

Possessing legacy systems doesn’t always mean that you’ll have to compromise with limited technological advancements. Take advantage of Omega’s Layer N smart devices that support standard communication protocols like Modbus and establish a connected application even with your existing systems. Turn data from your systems into actionable insights, make better decisions, and expand your possibilities.

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