What are Protocol Simulators?
The term “simulator” means “imitator of a situation or a process”. In the digital sense, we can say that a protocol simulator or a network simulator is a computer-generated simulation of a protocol before bringing the product to the market.
There is a paradigm shift in industries like industrial OEMs, discrete, power, and process utilities to move towards automation. This implies more interconnected devices over the internet with interlinked communication between the devices. In order to carry out a reliable and seamless automated working ecosystem in IIoT, many foundations like OPC, ETG, PI and others have laid down certain industrial protocols that a product must follow.
Protocol testing is a crucial element that product engineering companies like Utthunga take care of. It is imperative as it checks the alignment of the hardware or software product with the industrial protocol standards. This helps to address an issue, be it a design glitch, or points out the challenges in implementing it. Protocol simulation is a part of product testing and it helps to check if a hardware or software is working as per the communication protocol standard and purpose.
Protocol simulation is mainly carried out for checking the accuracy and latency of the communications over the wire. It is done by creating scenarios that are similar to the real-time use cases. These mimic the exact situations that are similar to the real-time use cases and help you evaluate the possible risks and challenges associated with the product. Knowing these before its release helps you create a product that stands apart in quality among your competitors.
How Simulation Can Save Your Product Development Time And Cost?
Simulation can be carried out in various ways, it all depends on your ultimate goal. If a reduced product development time and cost is on your checklist, then you can use the simulation approaches that we have listed down:
Protocol simulation to test for design reliability
In industries, especially in the current automated ecosystem, the device which you manufacture must be in compliance with the industry standards. When you create a device prototype and simulate it to test the design capabilities, you get to interact with the unknown design features and may discover some loopholes as well. This saves you product development time, as you optimize your product before it reaches the market. This way you can fix the glitches and then move on mass production.
Finite element analysis
Industrial devices are subjected to a lot of unpredictable scenarios and stresses that requires your product to be robust enough to handle such unforeseen situations. The finite element analysis helps you to validate your product in this context. It ensures your product can endure unpredictable stresses (in the connectivity/communications context) up to a certain limit. You can carry out FEA even in the design stage, to get a real idea as to what to expect from your product and the areas which need improvements.
It helps to improve the reliability of the product before an untested product reaches your customers and ruins your brand image. It also makes manual testing a lot easier.
APIs for Protocol Simulation
APIs in protocol simulation allow easy integration of your product to various software frameworks. This means test engineers can leverage better test automation solutions to carry out protocol simulations with high precision. Utthunga’s protocol simulators are configurable as a server-side application in your industrial devices. So, it enables remote control of the devices through various programming languages like Python, Java, C++, and others.
Advantages of Protocol Simulators
Industries have complex systems. Protocol simulators like master simulators and slave simulators when used in the product development cycle, help them to create a reliable product.
Since such a simulator is capable of providing practical feedback at the designing stages itself, it comes across as a time and cost saver. It also empowers design engineers to understand the possible glitches in the design and create an optimum layout for the same.
These allow simulation of the required prototype at the luxury of the lab, or during R&D or engineering. The control systems can be built to test the devices in various load and real-time scenarios. These can run on a desktop and be integrated with the control systems and another master systems that communicates with these field devices. Therefore the overall infrastructure, cost to procure, deploy and maintain the devices can be considerably reduced.
In research and development, these protocol simulators act like a perfect aid to train the operational personnel and get an in-depth knowledge of the functionalities of the product. It also helps the R&D department to come with innovative ideas for creating a better product that matches the growing demands of the users.
A protocol simulator helps create a virtual representation of the product even in its design stage. It helps design and product engineers understand the dynamics of the device’s operation at each phase of the production cycle.
Choosing the protocol simulator, therefore, should be a well-thought decision, if you are keen on creating error-free, top-quality devices. Utthunga’s protocol simulator is carefully created by our panel of experts who have gained years of experience in this field. Get in touch with our team, to know more about our exceptional services tailored to get you Industrie 4.0 ready. Utthunga has deep capabilities in industrial protocols, and our protocol simulators are an extension of Utthunga’s rich and deep protocol expertise. All our protocol simulators are built on top of our uSimulate framework – tried and tested in the field for years. We support several protocols like Modbus, EtherCAT, IEC-104, GE-GSM and others. Adding a new protocol (legacy or proprietary) to the simulator family is fairly easy as well.