Connecting Serial Devices to the Cloud

July, 2019

In the era of innovation and technological disruption, little do we know about the full potential of the high-tech offerings that we use in our daily life. Serial device is a relatively new concept, hence, the benefits that can be leveraged from it, is yet to be discovered and appreciated.

Connecting Serial devices with Internet of Things (IOT)

The advent of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has opened a new horizon for network managers, to extract meaningful usage from the serial devices. When the serial devices are connected to the IOT, it becomes seamless to extract valuable information from the existing processes which otherwise stay dormant under piles of accumulated data. This integration of serial devices with IP-based networks, help organizations to streamline their process and optimize their operation.

Enterprises that already adopted this process within their applications have benefited immensely out of it. Infact, with industry initiative to replace legacy serial devices, few companies have already replaced their traditional production system. The wireless serial device servers available in the market, appear with the ready-to-run cloud connectivity capabilities. Also, the user interfaces on the device are designed in such a way that, it becomes user-friendly so that, through a simple web user interface, users can configure the device to get serial data to the cloud. Again, the available diagnostic tools can assist users to identify connection issues through the diagnose log, which will highlight the issue along with the required configuration. Also, the tools ensure protection of data integrity and network security.

Process of connecting serial device with cloud

Serial devices can be connected with Ethernet-based networks or cloud applications through serial device servers. These servers have two interfaces such as serial interface and Ethernet interface. Serial device servers depend on the virtual COM port to allow data from serial devices to be transmitted to an already existing SCADA system. Although proprietary protocols need to be handled manually, but the transmission of data through serial device server happens through minimum human effort.

While connecting serial device servers to IOT cloud applications, the following points need to be considered.

  • Multiple polling

A serial device server may receive several commands at the same time from remote cloud applications or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems. In order to handle such queries, a queue needs to be maintained. This is essential in multiple polling applications as large number of serial devices support proprietary protocols. Without this queue system, an extra IoT gateway would be required to support multiple polling while connecting serial device to the cloud.

  • Proprietary protocols

As Serial device servers do not understand proprietary serial data formats, thus, a single response from serial device may be broken into many parts. Infact, many serial devices use proprietary protocols, and the device server must be able to convert the serial data into Ethernet packets properly. Also, a serial device server is expected to support data packing options to develop complex SCADA software applications to handle the TCP packets.

  • Bandwidth

When too many serial devices are connected to the same network, it becomes difficult to handle remote connections. Thus, serial device servers should provision flexible connection control, without which an organization would end up spending unnecessary time and effort in handling connections at the cloud application level.

Relating serial device and cloud – for a successful future

We can conclude that the focus should be on bridging the gap if any while connecting serial devices to the cloud for successfully leveraging its benefit.

- Kathakali Basu
Content Writer
Infoholic Research