Software Toolbox Technical Blog

John Weber


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How to Connect, Integrate, or Communicate between Control Systems

7 min read

By John Weber on Jan 11, 2018 2:00:00 PM

Our Automation 101 blog series is designed to help professionals that are new to the industrial automation space whether at the start of their careers, or moving into the operations technology (OT) world from an IT or other background.

One of the common challenges in Industrial Integration is communications between different brands or manufacturers’ control devices (PLC, DCS, Drives, RTUs, smart sensors).  While most control devices have methods of communication, and some industry standards have helped, they don’t all communicate using the same methods or protocols, and even if they both have the same serial or Ethernet wiring the difference in communication protocols prevents them from passing information.  It’s the same problem you have if someone calls you on the phone, but doesn’t speak the same language.

While, as humans, we may be able to overcome a difference in dialect, machine communication has to be precise and exact.  Small differences in addressing or data formatting can be enough variation to create communications failure. So how do people overcome this challenge?

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OPC Connectivity & Security Concerns in IT/OT Convergence

6 min read

By John Weber on Dec 20, 2016 2:00:00 PM


Complications of Domains, Workgroups, & Mixed Windows Versions & Solutions

In the Operations Technology or OT world that most of our users live in, it’s normal to have multiple versions of Windows and systems that may not always be setup consistently but we have to make it all work anyway.   Connecting OPC clients and servers when the Windows computers are not on the same version, not in an Active Directory or, using older terminology, a domain, and having everything work well takes skill, and keeping it secure involves a lot of details.

In this blog post, our team asked me to explore with you the details involved to assist you with better understanding Windows Security and to converse more productively with your IT Team.  I’ll also share how you can learn more about how to make things easier on yourself through the use of OPC UA or with Tunneling.

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TOP Server V6.0 - What's a Config API?

6 min read

By John Weber on Dec 1, 2016 2:00:00 PM


If you’ve seen any of our other posts on TOP Server V6 and its new capabilities, you may have seen us mention the Configuration API.  Unless you’re a developer, you may have been wondering what is that and why would I care?  We’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many of our users have had an interest in this new feature.

Today in this post, I will explore in more detail what an API is, what the configuration API does, how it works at a high level, and provide examples of the type of applications people are using it for.

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