Thursday, January 5, 2012

Industrial mobile broadband router for remote system access

Secure connectivity to mobile or remotely located Ethernet and RS-232 devices improves operational efficiency

By providing resilient and secure access to remotely located Ethernet and RS-232 systems and devices it is possible to eliminate the need for time consuming site visits required to take manual readings, diagnose problems or recalibrate instruments. To help support this need Westermo has released a new industrial mobile broadband router that provides secure access to your assets and helps to lower operational costs associated with the cost of travel and time spent away from the main site.

The newly launched MRD-350 is a robust industrial mobile broadband router designed for remote access across a cellular network and uses the Internet to cost effectively inter-connect systems, allowing HMIs, PLCs, and other devices to communicate with each other. The router has an uplink capacity of up to 5.7 Mbit/s and downlink of 14.4 Mbit/s, making it suitable for high data rate transmissions. Typical mobile or static applications include video surveillance, SCADA/DNP3 telemetry systems and remote access to machines and devices. For solar powered applications energy efficiency is vital and the MRD-350 has a special low-power mode to only be fully powered when needed.

The MRD-350 supports a wide variety of wireless standards including GSM, GPRS, 3G UMTS, HSDPA, and HSUPA. The MRD-350 features dual SIM card support, which ensures that site connectivity is not dependent on a single carrier. Should a carrier network failure take place the unit automatically switches to the alternative SIM card. When applied to on board applications (train, truck, buses, off road vehicles, etc.) the routers will automatically use the most efficient network available according to the geographical area.

A rugged enclosure, operating voltage range from 10 VDC to 60 VDC and compact design with all interfaces and LEDs positioned at the front makes the unit extremely well suited for industrial DIN-rail applications in harsh environments. With isolation between the PSU and the Ethernet and serial ports, protection is provided against issues caused by ground loops.

Devices connected to the Internet require counter measures towards cyber threats. The MRD-350 offers protection from malicious eavesdroppers via encrypted communication tunnels - Virtual Private Networks (VPN). The device also features a simple, yet powerful, packet inspection firewall. Using the on-board web interface it is easy to set up a VPN tunnel running between sites even over insecure networks such as the Internet.

To extend the life of legacy equipment there are a number of tools included that will ensure connectivity with PLCs and other RS-232-based devices. A built-in two port 10/100 Ethernet switch and RS-232 port allow a broad range of devices, machines and systems to seamlessly connect over any distance. The RS-232 port provides a simple modem replacement solution with the benefit of not having to reprogram or change any other component.

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