Posts Tagged ‘DeviceMaster RTS’

Connecting the Medical Industry

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operating room view from above

Constantly changing as technology and regulations increase, the medical industry maintains strict quality demands. The cost and complexity of medical and FDA certifications, also add to the difficulty of ensuring equipment and procedures consistently meet standards. Comtrol provides reliable communication solutions while ensuring lasting product stability for medical manufacturers.

DeviceMaster® device servers are used in a wide variety of communication and data collection applications, such as establishing the software bridge between medical facilities; patient rooms and Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system server locations. For example, one medical management company has integrated Comtrol’s DeviceMaster RTS into their software program process, creating a seamless data transfer. This software program gives hospitals a cost-effective way to collect, store and synchronize data from a large list of medical devices.

Our RocketPort® serial cards and hubs provide essential connectivity between peripheral devices and equipment to ensure precision and reliability for medical processes, anywhere from eyeglass lens fitting to vital sign monitoring.

Comtrol’s connectivity solutions for the medical industry ensure that equipment and procedures meet the industry’s regulations and quality demands.

Adapting Legacy Systems and Controlling Multiple Substations

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Outdated modem systems can cause problems when companies are looking connect legacy and new devices to a central office. One international software company found that the protocols needed for old modems were no longer congruent with their new system.

Comtrol’s DeviceMaster RTS 32-port device server provided connectivity for the modems, allowing the central office to communicate data to remote substations.  To utilize the old modem systems, Comtrol created a custom RTS feature which mimicked the protocols needed to work with the legacy modems.

Read more HERE

Customer Solution: EMR system and medical device integration

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By the end of this year, the Obama administration has set aggressive goals for hospitals to implement electronic medical records (EMR) that meet the “meaningful use” objectives requirements.

This creates the need for a software bridge between the patient bedside data to the network where the medical information will be stored in the patient’s EMR.  This storage of medical information in the EMR allows medical practitioners to observe trends in the monitoring data over periods of time.

One medical management company has integrated Comtrol’s DeviceMaster® RTS into their software program process creating a seamless data transfer.  This software program gives hospitals a cost-effective way to collect, store, and synchronize data from a large list of medical devices.

The serial information collected from medical devices such as infant warmers and incubators, pulse oximetry devices, cerebral/somatic oximeters, light and sound meters, oxygen analyzers, etc. is gathered by Comtrol’s DeviceMaster RTS in each hospital room.  The DeviceMaster transmits this information seamlessly over the Ethernet network to the EMR software program where it is saved in the patient’s file.

To learn more about Comtrol’s DeviceMaster products, visit

Customer Solution: Military Simulator Training System

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The world’s largest virtual training system, Combined Arms Tactical Trainer (CATT) developed through Lockheed Martin under contract with the British government, connects up to 400 war fighters, enabling them to train together in an immersive computer-generated environment.

Soldiers at each training center enter a vast network of linked simulators and emerge onto a virtual battlefield where they can train together in real-time.  The realistic, geo-specific environments support training for ground, air, logistics and other components of the modern-day battlefield.

Currently, there are two training sites in operation for the British Arms: Warminster, England and Sennelager, Germany.  Both sites have the capability to be linked through a wide area network for larger training exercises, making CATT the largest networked virtual training system in the world.


Hydraulic Fracturing Process Monitoring

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Fracking, otherwise known as hydraulic fracturing, has become a word well-known with the recent expansion of oil exploration.  As fracking helps to release natural substances (in this case, oil) from the earth’s rock for extraction, monitoring sensors directly at the site provide data and supervisory control for engineers and personnel controlling the fracking process.

The fracturing process, in order to be profitable, must be truly mobile.  Thus, many pressure pumping companies located in both the United States and Canada have created mobile command centers inside vehicles to control the fracking operations directly from the field.  These vehicles, often termed “data vans,” house important monitoring equipment.  Sensors used directly at the fracking site such as pressure meters, flow meters and engine and pump monitoring sensors transmit data in various different protocols such as CAN bus, RS-232 and RS-485.  Converting all of this data to a common medium – Ethernet – is necessary for the SCADA system to ensure the fracking process is safe and efficient.

Comtrol’s DeviceMaster® RTS 16-port serial to Ethernet gateway is included in data vans as the center of communication with the field.  As seen below, the data from the sensors is either converted from CAN bus to RS-232, or travels directly via RS-485 to the DeviceMaster.  The DeviceMaster then relays that information via TCP/IP (Ethernet) to the SCADA system.  The DeviceMaster provides great flexibility with software selectable RS-232/422/485 support, along with being reliable, rugged and tolerating use in a mobile environment for extended periods of time.

fracturing ethernet serial device server energy network connectivity

Door Access Control System

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Access control can be used in a variety of different ways from a lock on a car door, to a PIN on an ATM system, to a door control reader granting or denying access to a building.

In the door control industry, a credential, such as a badge containing an RFID tag, is presented to a reader.  The reader sends the information to a control panel, a highly reliable processor, and compares the credential’s information to an access control list and either grants or denies that person access to the building.

security power over ethernet poe devicemaster

Within these access control applications there is a need to bridge the serial communication of the door controller into the network.  Comtrol’s DeviceMaster® RTS takes the serial information from the door controller, converts it and communicates to the control panel via Ethernet.

Companies depend on reliable and accurate access control to provide the safety and confidentiality that they need for their employees.  The DeviceMaster RTS makes a good fit for door control applications because of its software-selectable RS-232/422/485 communication modes, ease-of-use and reliability.

MORE information on Comtrol’s DeviceMaster serial to Ethernet device servers

Machine Monitoring and Productivity – Wilson Diagnostics & DeviceMaster® RTS

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In industrial processing and manufacturing, machinery errors and malfunctions can be time-consuming obstacles.  The troubleshooting process has seldom been quick and precise.  To improve this process and increase productivity, Wilson Diagnostic Systems Company has developed revolutionary high-functionality software that monitors all input and output signals on PLCs, machines and I/O generating points to screen for pattern irregularities in performance.

Wilson Diagnostic Systems’ PlantTrak™ software is installed into a system network to generate reports based on monitoring all integrated machinery on that network.  As soon as an irregularity is detected, PlantTrak analyzes the data to determine whether an error or malfunction has occurred, and can be programmed to generate an alarm.  The report data can then be used to identify exactly where the error or malfunction is originating from.

Wilson Diagnostic Systems designed PlantTrak to communicate through Ethernet.  However, some machines and PLCs may only have serial, not Ethernet, ports to connect to the presiding network.  Comtrol’s DeviceMaster products provide the crucial capability to bring serial machines onto the network and into the software.Comtrol Corporation DeviceMaster RTS industrial ethernet gateway

At a local industrial die casting company, productivity is crucial.  The company installed PlantTrak on their network to maintain performance and to expand their PLC-based productivity.  The current die casting system consists of multiple stand-alone PLC units, which require Ethernet connections to the system network.  However, each PLC contains only one serial RS-232 communication port.  Comtrol’s DeviceMaster RTS 1-Port has been integrated into the system as the connectivity solution.  A serial connection is established between each isolated PLC and a DeviceMaster RTS 1-Port, which then transmits relevant data through the Ethernet connections to the main network.

A comprehensive performance history is recorded for each machine, though the PlantTrak capability to follow the monitoring in real-time is often essential for troubleshooting and process refinement.  The exceptionally fast TCP/IP connection capability of the DeviceMaster RTS allows for multiple PLCs to be pinged, or monitored, up to 10 times per second to ensure exact system performance.  Comtrol’s DeviceMaster has proved to be an exceptional partner with Wilson Diagnostic System’s PlantTrak software to optimize system performance and productivity.


Server I/O Virtualization Strategy

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 Article resource provided by TechTarget

How to virtualize server I/O

Rick Vanover

For large enterprises, managing server I/O can be cumbersome. Additional connectivity such as peripherals, license keys, specialized system components and extra network connectivity can make virtualization overly complicated or impossible. Here are some strategies I have employed to increase the agility in the virtual environment while delivering the required functionality.

Networking virtualization
The No. 1 trick in the playbook here is to enable virtual LAN (VLAN) trunking or tagging. By implementing the IEEE 802.1Q tagging of networks to a virtual host system, the required cabling footprint is reduced. For example, with a pair of 1GB Ethernet cables to a virtual host server, you can have access to many networks that would be presented to the virtual machine (VM). This will save incredible amounts of money on ports, cabling and accessory cards to the virtual host systems as the environment scales upward. Having this agility enables a virtualization implementation to reach full potential. Be cautioned that in implementing tagging, the VMs assigned to those networks are now all sharing the same physical interfaces on the host system.

A common practice is to allocate two or more 1 GB interfaces to host all network connections. This provides redundancy in case of a cable or switch port becoming unavailable and also provides an effective 2 GB of connectivity depending on how the networking is configured. Computing that to the number of virtual machines on the host system, determine if that is sufficient bandwidth for the number of systems on the host.

Blade servers for virtual environments present an expanded set of networking virtualization opportunities in that the networking components provide traditional physical switch management in the blade chassis through Cisco-branded devices and other products. The HP Virtual Connect architecture is versatile storage and networking virtualization product for HP BladeSystem products as well.

Virtualization of peripheral I/O
Traditional peripheral connectivity such as serial and USB connections can be virtualized with the use of an extra piece of equipment. While most system administrators frown upon serial or USB devices directly connected to servers, some software platforms and connectivity requirements do not have any other options. Specific examples are Ethernet-attached device servers. These units will extend traditional USB, RS-232, RS-422 or RS-485 ports from the server over the Ethernet network, meaning that the devices are not in the virtual machine inventory yet available from the device and vendor driver. These units work over TCP/IP or proprietary MAC address protocols. The space for these products is quite broad with the largest players being Digi, Comtrol and Avocent all having devices in this space. USB connectivity over Ethernet is a little less common as there are a fewer devices available, however.

I recently installed a USB device server for a Windows Server-based virtual server that required a USB license key. The device selected was a Digi AnywhereUSB controller. This device has five USB ports available to the virtual machine over Ethernet. Once the device was configured, the USB ports were visible in the Windows device manager. The AnywhereUSB controller has a tool that shows the ports and devices connected to the server:

Ethernet-attached serial ports are also available. This can extend special connectivity to industrial equipment, management interfaces and other devices that have a serial port for communication or management. These devices function in a similar way in that the serial ports are also extended over the Ethernet network. Below is a screenshot of using the Comtrol DeviceMaster RTS unit for RS-422 serial ports available to a virtual machine:

Having these devices extended over the network, virtualization management technologies will still be able to migrate virtual machines to another host. Keep in mind that in the case of virtualized peripheral I/O, a direct attached port (USB controller or serial port) will always perform better and are more reliable than one extended over Ethernet with these devices. Depending on the criticality of the ports to the server, this may affect the virtualization candidacy.

Standard storage virtualization and de-duplication
For organizations that have separate groups or individuals who manage storage, the use of a storage virtualization solution can simplify connectivity and management. For example, when using an IBM SAN Volume Controller (SVC), all of the storage devices are managed centrally through the SVC and the virtualization host system communicates only to the SVC. The SVC does the work of managing the drives across all of the various storage systems and their performance levels, while keeping it all transparent to the virtualization host. Many of the actual storage arrays can be connected directly to the virtualization host system, but that increases the management overhead for the virtual environment. If you have a storage group, let them manage it.

Data de-duplication in the storage area continues to develop as an opportunity for organizations who manage the virtual environment and storage environments within the same group. This can save on storage I/O connections from the controller level as well as overall drive storage requirements.

Future technologies
The biggest I/O virtualization technology for virtualized systems on the roadmap is Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE). FCoE will consolidate fibre channel storage traffic and Ethernet networking over a single 10 GB connection. This could introduce a whole category of management issues for the traffic being shared across virtualization, storage and networking teams.

I/O virtualization will be an ongoing focus as most of the low hanging fruit systems have been addressed with standard practices. Systems that will either be migrated or updated to virtual platforms with unique I/O considerations will require a fine pass at the configuration and performance expectations with virtualized I/O.

(Thank you to Travis Cole at Dematic Corp for contributing the screenshots from the Comtrol products to this article.)

About the author: Rick Vanover is an MCSA-certified system administrator for Belron US in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has been working with information technology for over 10 years and with virtualization technologies for over seven years.

Wide-Area Network Performance Diagnostics

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DeviceMaster® RTS & Modbus Server

device server modbus networking communicationA research and natural resource development company in remote northern Canada was experiencing some unexpected performance issues between devices in their wide-area wireless network.  Diagnostics information provided by the Modbus firmware for this company’s system indicated specific problems with some of the devices. With help from the diagnostic information and Comtrol’s technical team, read how the company was able to determine solutions to the system failures.

Networking Communications for Gaming Industry

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As the gaming and casino industries continue to evolve, creating advanced games and capabilities, the technology needed to support new networks evolves simultaneously.

Whether a facility hosts a single or multi-server, serial or Ethernet-supported network, Comtrol’s RocketLinx®, RocketPort® and DeviceMaster® products provide a variety of connectivity solutions for casino networking communications.

RocketPort RocketLinx DeviceMaster Casino Entertainment Communication

Both scenarios above depict potential options for a gaming facility to maintain their network system as games and other machines get replaced by newer models with different connectivity options. Comtrol’s products provide low-latency and efficient connectivity solutions for gaming networks of all types. Read more >>


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