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Total Industrial Network Life Cycle Management Made Easy

Each stage of the industrial network management life cycle—namely, installation, operation, maintenance, and diagnostics—is not only vulnerable to human error, but also susceptible to time-consuming inefficiencies. This month, we discuss how MXstudio, the latest industrial network management software suite from Moxa, can help you optimize network efficiency, maximize system uptime, and minimize total cost of ownership at each stage of the network management life cycle.

Simple Mass Configuration during Installation Stage

Since initial configuration of network devices is generally done one at a time via web console, manual device configuration can take days to complete, depending on the number of nodes to be configured. But by using MXconfig, a mass-configuration tool included in the MXstudio network management software suite, system integrators can virtually eliminate the possibility of manual input errors during initial network configuration to significantly reduce time to market and deployment costs. (To learn how to use MXconfig for network deployment, click here.)

For example, a high-speed rail operator in Asia wanted to build a fiber Ethernet backbone between its railway stations and central Operations Management Center (OMC) to ensure high availability for data communications. MXconfig’s Link Sequence Detection feature allowed the system integrator to deploy 30 Ethernet switches and complete all configurations—including IP addresses, redundancy settings, and VLAN settings—in under 30 minutes by recognizing the physical proximity of the switches on the installation rack, identifying their MAC IDs, and configuring their IP addresses automatically.

MXconfig network configuration tool allowed the system integrator to deploy 30 Ethernet switches in under 30 minutes, reducing the initial deployment time for the railway operator. Learn more

Highly Accurate, Visualized Topology at Operations Stage

To make managing day-to-day network operations easier, MXstudio includes MXview software, a graphical platform that allows operators to easily monitor and manage an industrial network of up to 2000 nodes in real time. MXview auto-detects network devices and displays graphic of the physical network topology. Moreover, MXview supports smart visualization, which allows operators to see color-coded VLAN/IGMP settings, a virtual device panel, PoE power consumption, and port-level link traffic accurate to the fourth decimal place, allowing operators to quickly check and control the network status of the automation field sites.

MXview supports user-defined events and notifications, such as environmental parameters and event periods, making maintenance easier and more efficient. Moreover, MXview has a built-in OPC server, which allows automation engineers to monitor the network status through existing SCADA systems. For example, MXview will collect the network status and send one Group Health tag to alert operators of any network anomalies.

In one of our success stories, MXview enabled a semiconductor manufacturer in Asia to use its existing SCADA system to monitor the wastewater treatment system for its sprawling manufacturing plant without having to deploy a separate SNMP network management software to monitor the Ethernet backbone. (To learn how to use MXview for network operation, click here.)

Easy Import/Export of Configuration Files at Maintenance Stage

During the maintenance phase, much time can be spent on backing up and restoring configuration files when network errors occur. Maintenance engineers need an easy method to quickly import and export configuration files from each device.

MXview’s configuration center allows you to select a group of devices and export their configuration files simultaneously for backup, saving a significant amount of time during maintenance. You can also use the job scheduler to perform regular configuration backups. (To learn how to use MXview for maintenance, click here.)

Speed up Troubleshooting with Event Playback and Network Snapshot Comparison in Diagnostics Stage

System downtime can be very costly, so network services need to be restored as quickly as possible when a problem occurs on the network. MXview’s event playback feature allows operators to easily trace back every network event to locate and identify the source of the problem. By selecting a specific event or a particular time frame, network status can be played back for event review, topology change, and sequence analysis.

N-Snap, another useful tool provided in the MXstudio suite, allows you to take snapshots of your network before and after problems arise for comparison. Important network data captured by N-Snap include redundancy settings, VLAN table, IGMP table, routing table, and switch configurations. Having a healthy network snapshot available for future reference makes it easier to spot anomalies in your system configuration settings. And if all else fails, you can even send the snapshot to Moxa’s technical support for further analysis or as a first line of defense to make sure you are not troubleshooting blind-folded. (To learn how to use MXview and N-Snap for diagnostics, click here.)

The All-in-One Network Toolbox

Moxa’s MXstudio industrial network management suite combines all the tools you need at each stage of the network life cycle into one toolbox, including MXview industrial management software, MXconfig industrial network configuration tool, and N-Snap industrial network snapshot tool. What’s more, Moxa has just released MXstudio 2.0, which supports higher integration capability, more user-defined settings, and even more type of devices, including Moxa switches, wireless units, gateways, serial device servers, secure routers, and IP cameras. Whether you’re at the installation, operation, maintenance, or diagnostics stage of the network life cycle, MXstudio can make your work easier.

 

Learn More about MXstudio

Visit the MXstudio website
Download MXstudio 2.0

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