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Comtrol Delivers Networking Reliability at Super Bowl LIVE

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Comtrol Delivers Networking Reliability at Super Bowl LIVE

Last month, in preparation for Super Bowl LIVE, Comtrol Corporation’s Rocketlinx PoE Switches were selected by the City of Houston to manage the networking side of their cutting-edge surveillance system.

The system, installed by Houston-based security integrator Pref-Tech, deployed dozens of AXIS cameras and speakers, Louroe Electronics sound detection equipment, and Siklu radios to monitor entryways, stages, and entertainment areas throughout the more than 750,000 square foot plaza.

A combination of Comtrol’s Rocketlinx PoE Switches, SFP’s, and industrial power supplies were deployed at Discovery Green to manage all of these devices in the urban park. “Given the size of this event, it was extremely important that we deployed a reliable security network that could provide continuous coverage over a large outdoor area,” said Jack Hanagriff, from the City of Houston’s Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security.

Among the Comtrol products deployed was our Rocketlinx ES7510-XT, a managed, PoE Plus Fiber switch designed to meet the high power and advanced management needs of critical security applications.

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IO-Link 101: 8 Common Questions Answered

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You may be hearing a lot of buzz about IO-Link lately, but do you know what it is or how it works? Below are the answers to common questions about IO-Link technology, what it does, who can benefit from it, and more.

1.   What is IO-Link? IO-Link Comtrol_Group final

IO-Link is a standardized, bi-directional communication protocol supported on sensors or actuators, which are connected through a master. This gives the user/integrator more information about their devices and allows them to have remote access, which fits into the hot topic of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) or Industry 4.0. IO-Link is a complimentary technology to an existing PLC, HMI or other controls architecture.

What IO-Link is Not: IO-Link is not another fieldbus. Rather, it was developed to reduce dependability on fieldbus support by manufacturers and users alike. It is designed to be as simple and universal as possible, requiring only standard M12/M8/M5 cables (no special cabling or connectors). It is also not a proprietary communication protocol, but rather a recognized international standard (IEC 61131-9).

2.   How is an IO-Link Sensor Different From a Standard IO Sensor?

Compared to a standard IO sensor, a sensor with IO-Link allows the user to see much more data about the sensor and even allows the ability to change the sensor’s settings without having to stop a manufacturing or production line to access the individual sensor. With an IO-Link sensor, you are also able to store parameters or settings inside of a master block, such as Comtrol offers, which can then be loaded to a brand new, factory-default device if necessary.

3.   What Kind of Data Can You See with IO-Link?

With IO-Link, you can see the manufacturer information and part number, among other data, of your sensors that are connected to the master block. So, if a sensor needs replacement but the lettering of the manufacturer or part number has rubbed off or become illegible, you can quickly see the exact model that needs to be replaced with this information already built in with IO-Link. This is also called Service Date, information that is not relative to a device’s function but rather about the device itself.

You can also view sensor performance and diagnostic information remotely through an IO-Link sensor. This is called Process Data (information that the sensor is reading, like temperature or distance) or Event Data (notifications or flags indicating, for example, a dirty lens, an error, communication loss to a sensor, etc.)

4.   What Kinds of Settings Can Be Changed with IO-Link?

A user can change the settings of an individual sensor without stopping the line to manually change the sensor settings one-by-one. With a web interface for instance, the user is provided access to these settings remotely. One of the most common uses of this capability is to change the read ranges of the sensors for product changeover.For example, if a manufacturer is producing “Product A” and “Product B” on the same line and needs to change sensor settings in-between the processes, this can be achieved by storing parameter sets in the PLC and then sending them out through the master block to sensors when a change is needed. The result? With IO-Link there is a potential for drastic reduction in downtime.

5.   What is an IO-Link System Comprised Of?

An IO-Link system consists of IO-Link sensors or actuators and an IO-Link master block. The information from an IO-Link device is communicated through an industrial Ethernet protocol, most commonly EtherNet/IP, PROFINET/IO, or Modbus TCP. The user can then access the sensor-level information and change sensor data remotely via the embedded web interface, PLC, HMI or other controller.

6.   Do I need a PLC to use IO-Link?

It depends on your industry and application. For example, Comtrol worked with one systems integrator in the mining industry that did not have a PLC present for a project. Instead, they used a connected PC to access sensor-level data from their presence detection IO-Link sensors. This allowed them to remotely view the results of the sensors checking for the presence of minerals.

7.   What are the Key Benefits of IO-Link?

IO-Link has three primary benefits: remote accessibility, auto-device replacement, and diagnostic capability. All of these key features of IO-Link contribute to reducing costly downtime, generally at manufacturing or production plants, and also gives the user much more information about their sensors or actuators.

Remote Accessibility: Refers to the capability to access sensor-level information and make changes from anywhere, as long as the user is able to connect to the a master and/or a network.

Auto-Device Replacement: Refers to IO-Link’s data storage feature that allows the user to download an old sensor’s data into a new sensor for seamless device replacement. This means that the new sensor can be quickly installed with all the settings of its predecessor, which ensures the line can be up and running in a timely manner.

Diagnostic Capability: Refers to the ability to see errors and other important information without having to stop the entire line to investigate the problem. For example, in material handling applications, a problem with a sensor would traditionally mean shutting down the system so that a person can access it and manually troubleshoot and makes changes to the device. With the ability to see error codes or other events through the web interface, the user can quickly identify which sensor is malfunctioning and what the problem is. No line shutdown required.

8.   What Industries Are Adopting IO-Link Technology?

Key industries that Comtrol is seeing use IO-Link include automotive, material handling, manufacturing, food & beverage, and many other industries, especially those that experience frequent changeover or typically long downtime.


Originally seen on SICK USA’s Blog:


Comtrol in the Broadcast Industry

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Broadcast Industry

The broadcast industry is made up of companies like TV networks, radio stations, and Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) have numerous peripheral devices that are crucial to the services that they provide. These companies need a way for their video servers, video switchers, wireless connections, control rooms, and satellites to communicate efficiently, and Comtrol’s product do just that.

Broadcast Industry

The RocketPort® SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) multi-port serial card line by Comtrol Corporation is the most comprehensive line available for the broadcast market, providing numerous solutions to serial device connectivity challenges. Available in 2 port and 8 port densities, the RocketPort® SMPTE has been utilized by broadcasting networks, giving them reliable connectivity to create, control, and distribute unique content.

Another line of products that has been beneficial to the broadcasting industry is Comtrol’s DeviceMaster® serial device servers. The DeviceMaster RTS server product enables browser-based remote port/device monitoring, which has allowed connections between peripheral devices such as cameras and printers, which are usually which are usually located away from the control room.

Five Things to Know About Comtrol’s Unmanaged RocketLinx® PoE Switches

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Comtrol’s Unmanaged PoE Switches

PoE SwitchesGiven the complexity of the markets, products, and expanding levels of technology at Comtrol, we believe firmly in the words of Albert Einstein, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”  This mentality, taken from one of the smartest men to live has led Comtrol to create a new type of data sheet: one that distills the complexity of a RocketLinx Power over Ethernet switch down to five key features.


Expansion into Emerging Markets – China, Brazil & EMEA

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Comtrol is announcing the official expansion of Sales and Support operations internationally! Markets of recent interest include oil and gas, renewable energy and industrial automation.

Comtrol International Expansion press release“We have experienced a significant increased demand globally for our industrial communications products in emerging markets,” says Bradford Beale, President at Comtrol, “Our international expansion will provide improved communication and ease-of-access in local markets around the world between Comtrol and our customers.

In order to meet this international demand, Comtrol has extended coverage and support tailored for specific locations such as China, Brazil, and Europe/the Middle East/Africa (EMEA) to better serve our customers.  For sales information and support in these particular locations, please contact the following representatives.

China: Chi Li; [email protected]

Brazil: Clarissa Strader; [email protected]

EMEA: Dennis Christensen; [email protected]

For more information, contact Comtrol Corporation at 800-926-6878 or visit 

Worldwide Release: Comtrol’s RocketLinx ES7110-VB

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RocketLinx ES7110-VB Industrial Ethernet Switch

Earlier this month, we released the new industrial Power over Ethernet switch with ‘Voltage Boost’ technology.  This enables the switch to receive power from common 12- and 24-volt supplies which are typically needed to power PoE systems.  The unmanaged RocketLinx ES7110-VB switch enables easy drop-in PoE device connectivity in transportation, factory and industrial settings while powering devices such as IP surveillance cameras, scanners, wireless access points and point-of-sale systems.

RocketLinx ES7110-VB Industrial Ethernet SwitchAlong with advanced PoE and networking capabilities, the ES7110-VB is designed for reliable deployment in harsh conditions, with advanced features including redundant power inputs, port alarms, and an IP31-rated industrial aluminum housing.  The extended operating temperature range ensures consistent operation in places such as mass transit vehicles, factories and outdoor settings.                                                                                        For more information and specifications, click here!

We have launched!

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Comtrol would like to keep you, the customer, better informed about what we’ve been up to.

As we continue to expand our online presence through Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ pages, we would like to invite you to subscribe to our blog.  We aim to deliver relevant internal content as well as external news and ideas concerning the networking and data communications industries!

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