Redundant Out-of-Band Management in Oil Refinery Applications

In most network applications, an out-of-band management solution equips support personnel with an alternative means to access console port command functions and reboot capabilities at remote sites when the primary avenue for communication is unavailable. When a critical device at a remote site crashes and takes down network communication, an out-of-band management solution ensures that NOC personnel can still communicate with the remote site via a secondary out-of-band channel. Although the presence of two separate avenues of communication provides an acceptable level of reliability for most everyday network applications, mission critical network applications in oil refineries often require a redundant out-of-band management solution that provides at least three avenues for communication with remote devices.

A redundant out-of-band management solution provides an additional level of reliability by granting at least three possible avenues for communication with devices at remote network sites. In most cases, a redundant out-of-band management solution will include a primary avenue for communication (usually a cable network connection,) plus at least two other alternative means to communicate with devices at remote sites. These alternative avenues for communication can include a secondary network, dial-up, satellite communication and cellular broadband. In applications such as oil refineries, the presence of three channels for communication helps to ensure that when critical devices malfunction at a remote refinery, NOC personnel can remedy the problem without the delays and expenses associated with a physical service call.

When routers, firewalls or Ethernet switches at a distant refinery crash and disrupt communication via the primary, network channel, remote support personnel can restore communication by accessing the remote site via a secondary or tertiary channel and then either reboot the troublesome device or access console port command functions to change configuration parameters or run diagnostic routines. In addition to providing a reliable means to restore communication with remote refineries, a redundant out-of-band management solution can also be used to reboot or reconfigure process controllers, POE switches, safety and security equipment and other devices at the remote site.

In oil refinery applications, the additional layer of reliability provided by a redundant out-of-band management solution helps to minimize downtime and avoid situations where malfunctioning devices might interfere with production, safety or security concerns.

WTI’s TSM-DPE Series Console Servers include dual Ethernet ports plus an internal modem, providing the perfect solution for redundant out-of-band communication in vital network applications in oil refineries or any other industry that demands constant, reliable network communication. In addition to serving as the heart of an effective redundant out-of-band management solution, WTI Console Servers and Switched PDUs also feature state of the art security and authentication features to ensure that sensitive command functions are safely protected from unauthorized access, plus event monitoring, logging and alarm functions to simplify the task of keeping track of significant events and conditions at the remote site.

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