Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI) will play an integral role in many customers’ adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies. Our experience suggests that two critical factors will determine whether a 10BASE-T1L project is successful:
- A focus on data
- Network security
Once engaged in the operational details of a 10BASE-T1L roll-out, engineers can easily lose sight of the reason for implementing it to lift the veil on the operation of endpoints, such as sensors, and feed rich streams of data from them to enterprise-level data analytics engines.
It follows that the biggest risk to the success of a 10BASE-T1L project is not at the endpoints themselves, or at the physical infrastructure; the problem is most often at the back end, when inadequate provision is made for handling and using the datasets coming from the newly connected endpoints.
So industrial engineers embarking on a 10BASE-T1L installation should have these questions in mind:
- What types of insights do I plan to derive from the data that will be acquired from sensors and other endpoints?
- How will the data be integrated into enterprise-level control systems? Is the format of the data from endpoints compatible or does it need translation?
- How will insights from data analytics lead to process or system improvements?
The second crucial issue for the engineer to face up to is security. The nature of the threat to endpoints changes dramatically as soon as they are connected via a 10BASE-T1L network. Before, when connected via 4 mA to 20 mA, the lack of complex connectivity reduced the risk of attack.
The superior connectivity provided by the 802.3cg standard, including an IP address for every node, makes every endpoint vulnerable to remote attack via the enterprise network. The inherent, physical firewall that isolates 4 mA to 20 mA or HART endpoints from the network disappears as soon as the factory installs 10BASE-T1L.
This means that individual nodes and the network infrastructure itself have to be secured through the implementation of technologies such as:
- Secure authentication of devices via encrypted device IDs
- Encryption of data transmissions
- Firewalls to bar outside entities from gaining access to secure devices