Ethernet Moves Out of the Office
An interesting circumstance of events
occurred several days back. Sitting at my desk I received
an invitation to attend an on-line Webcast presentation. The
topic, "Ethernet on the Factory Floor" caught my attention.
I have been researching how Ethernet is being extended into
areas other than the traditional office environment for quite
awhile and felt this presentation might provide me with some
The presentation went well covering a
technical overview of Ethernet and software considerations.
Since this is a live broadcast we could send in questions
or thoughts about the presented material, with all being addressed
at the end of the broadcast. Some of the questions that really
caught my attention were directed at Ethernet hardware.
An audience member asked, "How can I
connect a serial device to an Ethernet backbone"? Being familiar
with this type of Ethernet hardware made a potential solution
obvious: Incorporate an Ethernet Serial Server and configure
it in a manner that will allow the existing software access
to the serial device over the LAN. But, based on the response,
it is clear that not everyone is aware of this solution.
This is the first of a series of articles
on the different ways Ethernet is migrating out of the office.
I did have a few conversations (let's depict them as water
cooler discussions) regarding the Ethernet series that reminded
me of the Webcast and the realization that not everyone is
as exposed to Ethernet hardware as we are at B&B Electronics.
That is the reason for this introductory piece.
There are Ethernet Serial Server solutions
that incorporate existing serial devices on an Ethernet LAN,
dispelling the thought that new software and hardware will
always be necessary. Ethernet really does have a place outside
the office, in the Industrial, Retail, Building and Home Automation,
and many other LAN environments. Notice I did not say EVERY
application is a prospect for an Ethernet solution.
I have been exposed to a variety of Ethernet
solutions that have been creative and interesting. Ethernet
provides a remarkably flexible communication backbone that
provides the ability to integrate a wide array of devices.
As a final thought: Remember; don't throw
away the old DOS software or hardware you've been so successfully
using for so long. Ethernet Serial Servers have a way to put
these devices on the LAN. I'll explore some of these solutions
with you in the coming months.