OPC Expert enables network monitoring using UDP communication. One of the most common problems facing industrial plants is the way that their OPC communication stops periodically without explanation. Software reliability issues are a common cause of OPC communication outages, as the “Monitor” section explains. However, network communication disruptions are another source of OPC communication delays and outages; unfortunately, high-level automated data recovery methods often mask the true cause of communication problems manifesting as an application crash, data freeze or applications that stop functioning properly.
There are several reasons network problems suddenly appear. To learn more , please read our knowledgebase article.Learn more
OPC Expert’s network monitoring tool captures real-time network disruption problems. Network monitoring includes a UDP client and server wherein the UDP client sends data while the server replies with a summary of the data it received. OPC Expert is able to determine the number of lost data packets and even packets received out of order, and can also modify communication parameters to help companies determine the ideal data throughput their network can handle and whether or not they must replace network appliances (Ethernet cards, switches, routers, etc).
Persistent network testing enables OPC Expert to test network capabilities over a lengthy time period. As anyone using Ping knows, it is possible for packets to make it all the way to their destination during testing but to be delayed later on, and even stop at other times. OPC Expert enables network reliability testing over a period of hours or even days. Users see summary report with succinct results everyone can understand.
Throttle packet throughput enables OPC Expert to increase network traffic demands to determine what throughput a given network communication path can handle, when it fails and the failure mode (communication shutdown, packet loss, appliance reboots, etc). OPC Expert can also decrease network traffic to determine at what throughput the network experiences either no packet loss or simply acceptable packet loss.
Modify packet size enables OPC Expert to change the size of packets it sends, which helps automation personnel qualify network throughput numbers. For instance: networks are very good at sending a few large communication packets, whereas sending many small packets is problematic (and for other networks, the reverse is true). However, in all cases, the network throughput numbers (such as 100 Mbps) are the same. OPC Expert enables users with limited network knowledge to make sense of the jargon.
UDP data transmission ensures accurate results. OPC Expert uses UDP instead of TCP, as UDP does not include error recovery or retransmission. TCP’s automated error detection and recovery masks network problems, which is the reason developers prefer TCP for most network communication. However, for users of VOIP telephony experience platforms (Skype, Viber, RingCentral, etc), connection availability is not the same as throughput, which is the cause of frequent cut-offs in speech, audio delays and echoes. Network troubleshooting must do away with any technology masking underlying issues, which is the reason OPC Expert uses UDP traffic (lacking any automated error detection). OPC Expert is then able to handle its own analysis free of any calculation disturbances.
OPC Expert does not require installation, does not change Windows Registry and is free to download making it safe to use on any computer. Download OPC Expert and check out the network monitoring capabilities enabling automation personnel to troubleshoot and diagnose network communication problems and outages.
Do you need additional options or features specific to your production environment? Do you have any suggestions regarding additional features you would like added? Let us know, and we’ll happily consider implementing them in a future OPC Expert release.