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Software keeps an eye on the Ethernet

Siemens´s Industry Automation Division has introduced the "Sinema Server" network management software as an extension for your Sinema (Simatic Network Manager) software tools for the efficient planning, simulation and configuration of industrial communication networks.

It diagnoses and visualizes Ethernet networks, such as Industrial Ethernet and Profinet. Network activities are logged continually, and made available to users for evaluation and further processing. The software also helps users react quickly to faults and critical situations.

Sinema Server monitors the programmable controllers connected to the network, and infrastructure components, such as Industrial Ethernet switches and Industrial Wireless LAN access points. Auto Discovery automatically detects not only the controllers and infrastructure components but also their network-relevant parameters. The software then derives the network topology and statistics from this information.

This is shown graphically on websites and, if desired, the user can supplement this with additional diagnostics screens. A user can access Sinema Server websites from any computer in the network. Access is protected by an HTTPS protocol, and can be made even more secure by password authentication. More than one user can call the same information at the same time, irrespective of their locations in the network.

Sinema Server queries the data of the Ethernet nodes cyclically during operation, and reports network alarms. Changes in the network, faults and availabilities are logged and archived in a database. The user then takes this information to document and analyze the network with the aid of report functions, each of which can be set to a specific time interval.

The software also has an e-mail client function and an OPC server for forwarding network data and alarms to other systems. Sinema Server can be easily integrated into HMI (Human Machine Interface) and visualization systems, such as Simatic WinCC. This enables the user to monitor the communication in an automation system.

Gerhard Stauss | Siemens Industry Automation
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