SIXNET releases new open-source RTU

July 15, 2002 — SIXNET announces the release of the VersaTRAK IPm Remote Terminal Unit (RTU).

VersaTRAK IPm is unique because it operates on an embedded LINUX platform.

This means that it can provide users with both the power and flexibility of LINUX open-source software and the reliability of industrial grade hardware. VersaTRAK IPm is designed for datalogging, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), and control applications.

User programs may be created using industry standard ISaGRAF IEC 6113-3 programming tools or a free LINUX compiler. A LINUX web server runs web pages created using any standard HTML development tools.

A 10/100 Auto-detecting Ethernet port and four serial ports provide abundant communications options. Modbus and SIXNET protocols are included and numerous third party developers plan to make available LINUX-based drivers for other protocols.

Telephone, radio communications, and RS485 party-line media are all supported. A RISC co-processor handles communications enabling all four serial ports to run at high speed with no loss of performance. Included LINUX firmware provides a suite of Ethernet and Internet protocols and capabilities.

The VersaTRAK IPm runs on a 32-bit PowerPC with 16+ Megabytes of fast dynamic memory. Depending on the model chosen, between 4 and 136 Megabytes of Flash memory are available. With its embedded LINUX operating kernel, this RTU has the power of a modern computer with the reliability of an embedded controller.

The VersaTRAK IPm is designed to poll up to 50,000 I/O using a combination of SixTRAK local I/O modules, EtherTRAK (Ethernet I/O) and Modbus I/O. I/O tag definitions can be shared with popular Windows applications using a shared resource database that saves time when configuring systems. A suite of development and maintenance tools is supplied by SIXNET to assist in system-wide design, integration, and deployment.

VersaTRAK IPm is certified for operation from -40 to +70°C; is UL, CSA, CE, and DNV certified; and is rated for Zone 2 hazardous locations.

Speaking about the decision to adopt LINUX, Steven Schoenberg, President of SIXNET, offered this statement: “Customers are always looking for high performance at the lowest installed cost. Basing our new RTU on the PowerPC and LINUX software was the obvious answer to meeting both criteria.

“When millions of users share a common open technology, the price/performance curve shifts dramatically. Embedded LINUX solutions will now explode in the automation marketplace for the same reasons that Industrial Ethernet has. LINUX is truly open, it is very reliable, and the cost effectiveness creates strong incentives to use it.”

SIXNET is an international supplier of industrial Ethernet, data acquisition, and industrial control products. Purchasing and product information can be found online at

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