Software Toolbox Technical Blog

5 Key Considerations For Choosing Tunneling Solutions for Remote OPC

7 min read

By Win Worrall on Jul 16, 2020 2:00:00 PM

OPC continues to be the standard of choice for interoperability between software and hardware in the multi-vendor real world, with wide adoption of OPC DA Classic still in the majority compared to OPC UA. Accessing remote OPC Classic data sources (i.e. OPC clients and servers are on separate machines and, sometimes, even networks) can be challenging due to a reliance on Microsoft DCOM technology for security and authentication on remote OPC connections.

Anyone who has ever heard of or dealt with configuring DCOM security for remote OPC connections knows it has its challenges.  The good news is that there is an alternative to DCOM for remote OPC Classic connectivity - a solution referred to as OPC tunneling.  In the blog post, we'll discuss five of the key considerations to remember as you're evaluating the best OPC tunneling solution for your projects.

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Video Tutorial: Securely View & Control USB Cameras with Cogent DataHub

1 min read

By Win Worrall on Apr 6, 2017 2:00:00 PM

With the release of Cogent DataHub Version 8, we have had a lot of interest in new USB camera support functionality. The following short video blog demonstrates step-by-step just how easy it is use the Cogent DataHub to establish a connection to a USB Camera and then securely tunnel that data to another computer and then create a DataHub WebView page that will allow you to view the camera image and control the camera remotely.
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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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Does Your OPC Tunnel Give You Control Over Bandwidth?

3 min read

By Win Worrall on Dec 14, 2016 2:00:00 PM

It's common with OPC for users to not realize that it is the OPC client that typically defines how quickly the OPC server should poll or send requests to the underlying control devices and equipment the server is communicating with.

This blog post will discuss how important it is for an OPC tunneling solution to have some level of control over this frequency of polling in order to maximize efficient usage of your precious bandwidth.

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Is Your OPC Tunnel Compatible with Any OPC Application?

2 min read

By Win Worrall on Oct 18, 2016 2:00:00 PM

It's common in the automation space to just throw out the term "OPC" without any qualifiers when talking about what a software solution supports with respect to open connectivity to other software.  But what does "OPC" mean for your specific software solution?

This blog post will discuss how important it is to know what an OPC tunneling solution is actually compatible with when talking about "OPC" since not all tunneling solutions use the same methods.

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How Much Experience Does Your Tunneler Solution Have?

2 min read

By Win Worrall on Oct 4, 2016 2:00:00 PM

There’s nothing like knowing that you aren’t alone, and someone else has had the same problems or successes that you have in similar situations.  That's just as true in the industrial automation world as it is in life.

This blog post will discuss how the peace of mind garnered from case studies and real-world examples when choosing a tunneling solution can be a deciding factor.

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Can You Tunnel Remote Data From Many Locations?

3 min read

By Win Worrall on Sep 20, 2016 2:30:00 PM

Collecting data from multiple remote sites or aggregating, as it is generally referred to, is a big part of geographically distributed control operations.  Having a macro picture of your operations over all of your locations is key.

And efficient, reliable performance is always a concern.  This blog post will discuss performance as it relates to aggregating data from multiple remote sites using a tunneler solution and why it's important for tunneler solutions to support multiple tunnel connections in the same instance.

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Can You Tunnel Remote Data Without Opening the Firewall?

2 min read

By Win Worrall on Sep 7, 2016 1:00:00 PM

The more regulated your industry, the more likely it is that you have a cybersecurity team that is extremely vigilant about gaps in security.  Traditionally, remote OPC tunneling has generally always required that network firewalls have at least one port open for data transfers to work successfully.

But what if you work in one of these highly regulated industries and your IT/cybersecurity department won't allow you to open any firewall ports for remote data sharing?

This blog post will discuss why it's important for a tunneler solution to support alternatives to the traditional methods of tunneling with open firewall ports to ensure network integrity.

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