Babel Buster Network Gateways: Big Features. Small Price.
EMAIL INTERVIEW - Al Mouton & Ken Sinclair
Al Mouton is President of Loytec Americas, Inc and has held that position for the past two years. Loytec manufactures and distributes a wide variety of networking hardware and software along with diagnostic tools. As President, Al is responsible for the distribution, sales and support of LOYTEC products in the Americas.
The LISA chip has features that support an Ethernet port, two LonWorks (EIA-709.1) ports and one BACnet port.
Sinclair: What is new since Loytec announced their new LISA integrated circuit that would support both LonWorks and BACnet?
Mouton: Ken if you remember the LISA chip has features that support an Ethernet port, two LonWorks (EIA-709.1) ports and one BACnet port. All that was needed was the software to define what the product would be. The LISA chip finally got into production by mid 2005. Loytec along with Cimetrics started working on our own product as well as working with many customers who also wanted to use the LISA chip in their products. Today we are happy to announce the first six products; three new LonWorks routers, one new router with loop redundancy monitoring, alarming and recovery and one new touch screen display unit.
Sinclair: What about the BACnet products that were discussed?
Mouton: Loytec’s first product that will support the BACnet market will be introduced in phases. At ASHRAE Loytec will be announcing its new Ethernet to LonWorks Router / OPC server. Besides being another Ethernet router, it contains an OPC server to offer customers, having SCADA packages, a much more powerful solution to monitor and control LonWorks networks. By mid 2006 we will introduce the addition of a BACnet port which will be both a LonWorks and BACnet server as well as a gateway between the two standards. Additional features will be a Web server and scheduler. We think this product is very timely for the market.
Sinclair: How will this product be a gateway without any standards?
Mouton: Ken, you are right, the industry needs to start working together to address this issue. Otherwise companies will have to develop their own gateway definitions, which end up being costly. Today every company that offers this feature in their products has to customize crossover tables. Loytec will have to do the same, but the good news is that the LIP-OPC-Server will prove to be a very cost effective and flexible solution.
Sinclair: How is Loytec doing with their Protocol Analyzer family?
Mouton: This is where I have been having the most fun at my job; training customers how to properly install LonWorks networks and how to recover from a problem network. I would estimate that over 60% of the network installations that go in have issues. The worst is usually retrofits, where the customer is using wire already installed. Many installers do not understand issues of wire signal attenuation, noise, poor contacts, etc. I do a three hour course on all these issues. The industry needs a certification process to insure proper job completion.
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