Technology

Future survivable network, both high and low level.

Future survivable network, both high and low level.

Distributed networked control systems are revolutionizing the way factories, buildings, ships, and homes are automated. This is the next major technology wave. What personal computers were to the 1980’s and the Internet was to the 1990’s, networked control systems will be for 21st century.

LonTalk

The LonTalk protocol and related LonWorks technology were developed by Echelon Corporation to provide an interoperable device-level distributed control system network for factory and building automation. The principle implementation of the LonTalk protocol is a microcontroller called the Neuron Chip. Motorola and Toshiba, under license from Echelon, manufacture several different versions of the Neuron Chip.

Industry Standard

LonTalk is currently an industry standard protocol for such groups as heating, refrigeration, and air conditioning engineers (ASHRAE), semiconductor manufacturers (SEMIC), and the Electronics Industry Alliance (EIA). LonTalk was an innovator in the field of control networks. LonTalk’s arrival, coupled with its initial proprietary nature, spawned many efforts to produce competing protocols. LonTalk has since become an open protocol—with Adept’s direct involvement—and is the industry leader. The distributed control networks are sometimes referred to as “infranets” to distinguish them from the more well known internet and intranets.

LonTalk is a full-featured OSI similar to 7-layer protocol. It provides, to end users, the capability to use components from different venders, hence the descriptor “interoperable.”