Specifying Network Adapter Provides Full Control of Your Connections

Force Ethernet communications to use a specific NIC

The ability to specify a Network Interface Card (NIC) in the TOP Server configuration for each channel enables changing the assigned network adapter for a connection on the run.

This is useful for a number of reasons, not the least of which includes supporting redundant networks using the Media-Level Redundancy plug-in.

This also makes it possible to monitor and change which network adapter is used by the channel for communications from any client application.

Selectable network adapter applies to Ethernet encapsulated serial drivers as well as native Ethernet drivers

Most TOP Server drivers support a form of Ethernet communications, whether they are native Ethernet drivers such as Modbus TCP Ethernet or serial drivers supporting Ethernet encapsulation like Modbus RTU Serial.

Whether a natively Ethernet based driver or a serial driver configured for Ethernet Encapsulation is being used, some form of a network interface will be used, and the specific NIC the driver will use can be specified in the channel configuration.

Bypass default operating system binding order by specifying a NIC

By selecting a specific NIC, users will be able to force the driver to send all Ethernet communication through the specified NIC. In this fashion, the normal operating system binding order is completely bypassed. This ensures that users have control over how the network operates and thus eliminates any guesswork, in the event that the default binding order isn't configured correctly.

The selections shown in the Network Adapter drop-down menu depend on three things:

  1. The network configuration settings
  2. The number of unique NICs installed in the PC
  3. The number of unique IPs assigned to the NICs.
To allow the operating system to choose the NIC, keep "Default" selected as the network adapter. This allows the driver to use the operating system's normal binding order to choose the NIC that will be used.  We recommend consulting your IT department for any decision related to NIC binding order on your systems.

Change the NIC for a channel from your client

You can also write to the system tag _System._NetworkAdapter to change the NIC Card on the fly to support Redundant Networks. This tag is a string tag, that can be used to monitor the currently selected NIC. To change the NIC, the name of the newly desired NIC adapter must be written to this tag in string format. The string written must match the exact description of the desired NIC in order for the change to take effect.

Names for available NICs can be obtained from the _System._AvailableNetworkAdapters tag. For a serial driver, this tag will only be used if Ethernet Encapsulation is selected.

Important Notes:

  • For most scenarios, the NIC should remain at "Default" for the best performance. This ensures continued correct operation in the event of changes to your network hardware on the TOP Server machine (including moving the TOP Server configuration to a different machine).
  • When changing the selected NIC, the driver will be forced to break all current device connections and reconnect.
  • See our specific System Tags topic for more information on the available built-in system tags.

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The demo is the full product once licensed. Once a client application connects to the  TOP Server, the TOP Server runtime will operate for 2 hours at a time. At the end of the 2 hour demo period, the demo timer must be reset by restarting the TOP Server runtime service.

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