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Designing a network — live, on camera

Designing an OT network live on camera Distech Controls ECLYPSE Optigo Connect

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The worlds of IT and Operational Technology (OT) are merging more and more these days as the Internet of Things grows in prominence. This collaboration between IT and OT is great, but there are still gaps in understanding that keep these worlds from fully working together.

To help, we teamed up with Distech Controls to create a webinar series on networking, for OT professionals. This was the finale in our series, where we designed a network step by step, from start to finish. We covered design, set up, and troubleshooting common issues. 

Watch the full recording, or hop between sections that interest you in the links below. Be sure to check out our previous Introduction to Networking, Network Access, Internet Layer, and Transport and Application Layer sessions as well!

The webinar dug into a lot of topics, including:

We had some supporting documents that are useful to refer back to, or to glance at while you follow the webinar. 

For this session, we used a small sample example of a building with two floors. We had to connect building controls and cameras using IP. Internet access was on the first floor in a server room with a router, Network Controller, and Smart Aggregation Switch.

A few best practices when you’re setting up your own network:

  • Create a diagram to document your network. Be sure to include all devices and connections, as well as IP address assignments. 
  • Keep a spreadsheet of the details of your design, including MAC addresses, IP addresses, port-by-port configuration on switches, VLANs, and any relevant notes. (Get your sample spreadsheet here!) 

If you run into any issues on your network, don’t panic! There are lots of ways to troubleshoot.

First, if you suspect the issue might be in your fiber, it’s a good idea to keep your fiber cleaner on hand and ready to go. Only remove the caps on your fiber when you’re ready to plug in, and be sure to clean your fiber. Even if you don’t think any dust has leached into the fiber, it’s better to be safe. 

If fiber isn’t the root issue, the management system can ping switches and devices to check IP connectivity of devices.

For more in depth troubleshooting, Visual BACnet is a visualization program that quickly identifies common problems and anomalous behavior in the BACnet infrastructure. We created some broadcast traffic on our sample network, and saw how Visual BACnet was able to pinpoint the issues. 

Watch the full webinar series, from start to finish!

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