Protocol Translation: Why One-Box Connectivity Is Better than Two

May 4, 2021
Richard Theron

One box, two box, gray box, blue box. Regardless of the form, the function of protocol translation is to connect disparate devices so they can communicate with each other.

The simple, most impactful way to do this is to add a multi-protocol gateway so that your devices easily interface with your automation control networks.

Sounds simple enough and, in a way, it is. But a high-performance, fully configurable gateway is about much more than closing the gap between a wide variety of devices (including) legacy – it’s about enabling you to do all that you want and need to do to ensure the comfort and safety of your buildings and the people that come into it.

In the not too distant past, connectivity involved physically wiring devices using such things as optical fiber, cables, boxes, and panels. Technological advancements, including wi-fi, Bluetooth, and IoT gateways, however, have transformed connectivity to enable faster, better connections and interoperability so you can successfully mix-and-match dissimilar devices.

Still, even with these advances, many solutions rely on old ways of thinking and doing; namely, making you invest in additional gateway devices, robbing dollars from your budget and time from your team, not to mention taking up much-needed physical space and potentially opening up additional pathways for cyberhackers.

Instead, there’s a more economical and logical option: the one-box solution. The one-box solution simplifies and streamlines protocol translation. This is where MSA FieldServer with FieldSafe comes in with its many distinct advantages over a two-box offering.

Fast, Easy Installation

Preloaded with drivers and ready to support hundreds, even thousands, of data points, MSA FieldServer’s one-box solution provides instant deployment. It is  a “get it done and get it done now” solution. For example, if you want a VPN solution, MSA FieldServer makes it as simple as switching it on to get it up and running.

Two-box solutions, on the other hand, require a box to connect to the cloud, another box to connect to VPN, and so on and so on. Consider that a two-box solution means that the cost of each device is taking a big bite out of your budget, it also takes longer for installation and setup.

Upgrade Features – Without Replacing Hardware

MSA FieldServer is a nimble device that gives you remarkable flexibility. With a single piece of hardware, you can add the features quickly and easily.

Let’s assume you want to log data to the cloud. No problem. The feature can be turned on with a switch. If you have a 70 degree temperature set in the left corner of the boiler and want to change it, guess what? No problem. The change can be made in near real-time. In fact, the beauty of the MSA FieldServer one-box solution is that features can be added, and profiles can be updated, changed, or reconfigured instantaneously – and all on a single device.

Smaller Footprint

Space is always at a premium, especially when you need a cabinet to house a piece of equipment. Fortunately, the MSA FieldServer is only about the size of a deck of cards. You can easily mount it on a DIN rail to make smart use of your existing space and equipment racks.

State-of-the-Art Security

MSA’s one-box solution also comes equipped with MSA FieldSafe, a feature that ensures device security through such exacting security measures as self-signed certificates and robust user/password management.

The one-box MSA FieldServer with FieldSafe takes a multi-layered approach to security to secure the device, your connections, and your data. It works by securing cloud connectivity through a dedicated port, while it also allows your data to move seamlessly across disparate subnets. And, it ensures compliance with the most current and stringent IoT safety standards in the world.

One Box, One Solution

Achieving connectivity with a one-box solution gives you incredible processing power as well as a cost-effective, secure interface so you can do anything and everything you need to – without the need for multiples pieces of equipment.

Even better is the fact that MSA FieldServer is continually evolving to keep up with the connectivity revolution. Our newest addition to the MSA FieldServer suite features two ethernet ports. Not only does this speed things up in the background, it provides updated cybersecurity protection, making your one-box solution the solution that keeps up with cybercriminals.

Contact us using the form below to learn more about MSA’s proven one-box solutions that use your existing devices and applications without big, expensive add-ons.

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Richard Theron
Richard Theron is the product Line manager for Fieldserver and cloud at Sierra Monitor, where he works intimately with companies in the building automation, industrial automation, energy management and life safety markets to help them cloud-enable their equipment.

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