Posted by Satoru Kumashiro, September 7, 2022
Enterprise Wi-Fi Bridge for IT-OT Convergence
Retrofitting a well-established building with a new HVAC system sounds excellent to improve indoor air quality and save energy consumption. However, when it comes to the installation, it isn't easy because
- Cable conduit has been already filled with the existing network cables
- Limited availability of the power source
- Building automation OT network convergence into 802.1X IT infrastructure
Silex has been the wireless connectivity solution provider to address these challenges.
Seamless Wireless Building Automation Communication
Silex's Ethernet to Wi-Fi bridge is the proven solution to connect any device with an Ethernet port to a Wi-Fi network with 802.1X authentication. The single client mode of the silex's Wi-Fi bridge seamlessly bridges the communication between the Ethernet device and the Wi-Fi network. Whether your building automation protocol is BACnet over IP or Modbus TCP, silex's Wi-Fi bridge allows you to deploy your HVAC, VAV, and other controllers to the Wi-Fi infrastructure.
Now, we know it is possible to eliminate the Ethernet cables to install the controllers to where it is difficult or impossible to wire the network cables. How about the power supply for the Ethernet to Wi-Fi bridge? An AC adapter isn't only the option for silex's selected bridge product.
The power consumption of the silex's bridge provides a chance to be powered from the USB bus power equipped with your field device controllers such as HVAC/VAV controllers. Several HVAC system integrators have already adopted our bridge product in such a way after evaluating the product. Please make sure to review the power supply capability of the USB port or your controller.
Silex's Ethernet to Wi-Fi bridge allows users to wire the cables around the controller with an Ethernet port and a USB port.
Enterprise Wi-Fi Security with 802.1X
Security is the other deciding factor for silex's customers. The reason why the building automation system integrators use our bridge is because of the Wi-Fi security.
IT/OT convergence is the matter here. There are lots of IP based field device controllers that do not support 802.1X authentication. In OT world, it has not been very popular, otherwise any, to use 802.1X authentication to connect devices to the OT network. Therefore, there is not much need for supporting 802.1X authentication by the field devices. However, when IT/OT convergence comes into the picture, the situation around OT devices change. When the OT converges into IT network, the IT infrastructure may be built upon 802.1X authentication system. Especially in the healthcare and financial sectors, network security is essential to protect any confidential information of their patients or clients. In such a network, not only data encryption but also device authentication are the critical security method. 802.1X authentication has been widely adopted to address device authentication.
Some USB Wi-Fi adapters do not support 802.1X. Some USB Wi-Fi adapter supports 802.1X, but the compatible operating systems are limited to Windows, Android, Mac, or major Linux distribution, which may not match the controller. As silex's bridge is platform-agnostic and supports 802.1X for the device authentication, silex's bridge has been the best suit for such needs.
Silex to support system integrators AND field device controller OEMs such as HVAC, VAV controllers
Silex offers dedicated support for customers ranging from device configuration support to product customization support. Examples:
The product configuration utility development
API support to configure silex's product through the connected embedded system
Firmware customization and/or optimization to satisfy requirements
Private brand of the hardware and the software