We are continuing to innovate and expand the capabilities of our original products while we are developing and testing new offerings that will be announced this Fall. You frequently see me contributing responses about Metasys issues on the HVAC-Talk forum. However, this is time well spent because we are learning at least as much from the dialog going on there as we are contributing. One of the frequent complaints that we see about the Metasys Facility Explorer supervisory controller and other Tridium Niagara Framework based Metasys integrations is that the Passthrough mode that existed with the older generation Metasys supervisory controllers is no longer available. Help is on the way!
The solution utilizes similar technology to what we developed for the S4 Open: OPC-N2 Router where we provide a local OPC proxy server for OPC clients. In this application when our S4 Open Management Console automatically detects an OPC-N2 Router it transparently establishes a persistent secure tunnel between the machine it is running on and the physical OPC-N2 Router. The information available is then published as an in-process server on the local machine. This eliminates the need for the OPC client needing to deal with any of the troublesome OPC security and DCOM setup issues. Your OPC client thinks that it is talking to a local OPC server. Because the S4 Open appliances are running a real time OS on embedded PC technology they have plenty of bandwidth available to manage this additional connection. Our integration partners who have worked with the OPC-N2 Router really appreciate how much this simplifies their integration efforts.
Our “passthrough” solution involves establishing a similar secure tunnel for both the OPC-N2 Router and the BACnet-N2 Router. So, we are using proven technology. The user selects the S4 Open appliance to target utilizing Right Click commands in the navigation structure of the Management Console. The result is a virtual COM port on the local PC that tunnels to the N2 bus on a remote S4 Open appliance. Since some of the Metasys utilities are limited to using COM1 or COM2 these will be the only options available. The Management Console will take care of all of the details involving establishing and deleting secure tunnels as needed.
I’d like to receive comments from potential users about how you might apply this feature to your Metasys integration projects.