Designing a network — live, on camera

Designing an OT network live on camera Distech Controls ECLYPSE Optigo Connect
Programming Distech ECLYPSE controllers and configuring Optigo Connect switches, live on the air

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!

Recent Blog Posts

An excess of Global Who-Is/I-Am messages can be devastating on BACnet networks. Particularly on a big network with lots of devices, it’s important to limit broadcasts to only the necessities. 

The BACnet Browser in Visual BACnet allows you to customize the information you see and isolate the specific packets you need to solve your problem.

The router and gateway play key roles in your BACnet network, and are often easily mixed up. It’s important to understand how these disparate parts communicate with one another.

At Optigo, we love learning about industry trends: artificial Intelligence and machine learning, data tagging, the push towards personalization in our buildings… 

There are many different issues that can crop up on IP and Ethernet networks. 

Recent Projects

Data center expansion with OTI and Optigo Connect

DATA CENTER EXPANSION

Stack Infrastructure is a portfolio of hyperscale computing data centers. OTI completed work on Phases I and II, and returned for the Phase III build-out of a 4-megawatt data hall and brand new central plant. The Optigo Connect network put in place in Phases I and II was expanded on this project. The team achieved quick roll-out of a large, multi-service redundant network using the Optigo OneView management interface. Going forward, the facility management team can use OneView to remotely monitor equipment, manage power usage, and meet up-time goals.

Optigo Connect MR Soluciones The Landmark

THE LANDMARK

The Landmark is a sophisticated mixed-use high-rise in Mexico. The owners wanted to integrate all OT systems in the skyscraper, while maintaining separate networks for each application. The Landmark is the fourth joint project between Optigo Networks and MR Soluciones. Together, these companies provide robust services to meet any challenge.

Australian Bureau of Statistics at 45 Benjamin Way with Delta Building Automation

45 BENJAMIN WAY

Delta Building Automation (Australia) had a big job renovating the Headquarters for the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) at 45 Benjamin Way. The building owner wanted to improve the building’s energy use and increase their National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) score to more than 4.5 stars, out of a possible total of six. Securing the network both internally and externally was a big priority, as well.

Penn State University Optigo Networks Visual BACnet

PENN STATE UNIVERSITY

When Tom Walker looked at Penn State University’s Navy Yard network, he saw huge issues. The system was busy and loud, to the point where the overrun network was bringing down the entire building. Because this was happening on the MS/TP network, pinpointing the problem would mean boots on the ground to segment and test the chain, piece by piece.

Penn State University Optigo Networks Visual BACnet

PENN STATE UNIVERSITY

When Tom Walker first started working at Penn State University four years ago, there were a lot of network issues. Buildings were dropping offline. Broadcast traffic was pushing 90,000 packets per hour. Walker was on the phone almost every single night because devices were down or had to be reset.

 

Torre Manacar Mexico City Optigo Connect

TORRE MANACAR

When MR Soluciones began work on Torre Manacar, they knew they needed a flexible and scalable network infrastructure to support a wide array of integrated systems. Optigo Networks was a natural fit for the massive project, designing a robust network at a competitive cost.

short

SHORT PUMP TOWN CENTER

Short Pump Town Center, an upscale retail center, underwent a complete renovation in 2014. The flexibility of Optigo Networks’ solution meant the retail center’s unknown final design was not a barrier to placing IP surveillance equipment in the field.

BOULEVARD MALL

BOULEVARD MALL

Optigo Networks connected New York-based Boulevard Mall’s security surveillance devices in December 2015, using a Passive Daisy Chain topology.

Visual BACnet tech support team

TECH SUPPORT TEAM

One tech support team at a manufacturer purchased an account with Visual BACnet in April 2017, for technical problems around the world.

Aster Conservatory Green Optigo Connect

ASTER CONSERVATORY GREEN

The Aster Conservatory Green is a community comprising 352 residences across 24 low-rise buildings. The buildings use advanced surveillance and access control technology, including 40 HD video cameras and 60 FOB-access-tele-entry points for access control.