What is BACnet?

Let’s start at the beginning, by defining the BACnet protocol
What is BACnet

Very simply put, BACnet is a communications protocol that governs how your building automation devices work together. Think of it as a language: the rules that guide how devices communicate, just like vocabulary and grammar dictate how we talk to each other. 

BACnet’s special because it’s a vendor-neutral standard. In the days before BACnet era (BBE), protocols were proprietary. Having devices from many different vendors in a single building was impossible, because those devices couldn’t communicate with each other at all: they just didn’t speak the same “language.”

So, you were locked into one vendor for the lifetime of the building. It was impossible — or at least, prohibitively expensive — to switch vendors. You couldn’t exactly replace every single device in the building. That unfortunately led to building owners and managers putting up with less than stellar service, or buying devices based on what was available to them rather than what was best for their system. This image by Peter MacDonald is a fantastic illustration of how challenging that period was.

What is BACnet

What is BACnet

Learn more about the history of BACnet in our whitepaper, “Why should you invest in BACnet?

This all changed when a group of pioneers created a vendor-neutral, open standard. BACnet revolutionized the industry because it was suddenly possible (and downright easy!) to install devices from many different vendors. This video from Contemporary Controls is a great breakdown of what BACnet is and how it changed the industry forever.

For more information, this Quora post from Joel Bender gives a solid explanation, and this FAQ from Mike Newman also digs into the BACnet basics.

Recent Blog Posts

The consulting specifying engineer of today is venturing into totally new territory: Division 25.

If you’re tired of going on site to capture BACnet data, look no further than your JACE.

OT Networks Overview

The latest release from Visual BACnet brings huge convenience and time saving for users with JACE controllers.

With the new 2.6.0 update for Visual BACnet, we have introduced a Linux Capture Tool. Similar to our Windows Capture Tool, now Linux users can capture BACnet IP and MS/TP traffic right from their computers.

Recent Projects

Coventry University

COVENTRY UNIVERSITY

Chris Goodman, the Senior BMS Technician at Coventry University, had broadcast storms that were happening more and more frequently. 

Ongoing construction due to Coventry’s campus expansion meant lots of new activity, with technicians installing new devices and making network changes. Already juggling these constant additions and alterations, Goodman and his small team then had to deal with the subsequent broadcast storms. As the broadcast storms became more frequent, Goodman and his team needed a solution.

Find out how Visual BACnet helped Chris solve the broadcast storms and improve Network Health in our free case study!

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.