7EN02-0290-11

Communications Module

The Communications module allows you to set up the communications interfaces of the meter.

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Overview

Each communications port of an ION meter is controlled by a single Communications module. Refer to your meter’s documentation for the communications ports’ register bounds and factory defaults, and the types of communications ports supported. Module names and registers display according to the communications options that you have ordered for your meter.

NOTE: Unless your device supports both NTP and SNTP time synchronization sources, references to NTP in ION meters or documentation should be interpreted as SNTP.

NOTE: The registers and settings available in this module depend on the device or node you are configuring, as well as its firmware and template versions. Not all registers or settings are available on all devices or the Virtual Processor, and labels may vary.

Inputs

Communications modules have no programmable inputs.

Setup registers

The table below shows which setup registers apply for the different serial communications options.

Setup Register RS-232 RS-485 Infrared Internal Modem USB
Protocol
Baud Rate 1  
Unit ID
RTS Delay  
Rx Timeout
Serial Port  
Comm Mode        
HshakeMode  
RTS Level  
CTS Level  
RS485 Bias  
Modem Init  
Answer Hours  
Answer Hours Rings  
Non Answer Hours Rings  
1This is the internal baud rate between the meter's circuitry and the modem, NOT the connection speed between your meter's internal modem and another remote modem. When implementing a ModemGate, this baud rate must be the same as the port hosting the gateway.

Protocol

This register specifies the communications protocol for the device. Options may include ION, EtherGate, third-party protocols such as Modbus and DNP, infrared pulsing for Infrared ports, or any of several GPS protocols if the port can be used for GPS time synchronization.

Baud Rate

This register specifies the baud rate at which the device is communicating. It should be set to correspond with the baud rate of the connected workstation or external modem. When using an internal modem, this setting defines the baud rate between the internal modem and the meter's internal circuitry. When implementing a ModemGate with your internal modem, set the baud rate of the internal modem's port to the same settings as the port hosting the gateway.

NOTE: A meter's external modem will cease to communicate if the COM port's baud rate is set outside of the external modem's working range. If this occurs, you must reset the COM port's baud rate locally; use the front panel of the meter.

Unit ID

This register specifies the communications identification (ID) for the device. Every device should be assigned a unique Unit ID.

The allowable range depends on the protocol.

RTS Delay

This register specifies:

  • for RS-232 ports, the transmission delay in seconds after the RTS has been asserted when Hshake Mode is rts with delay.

  • for all other ports, the delay in seconds before the transmission (Tx) of the packet.

Rx Timeout (receive timeout)

Specifies the timeout for receiving an entire message from a device. The supported range is from 0.1 to 15 seconds.

NOTE: This register only affects ION, Modbus Master and DNP protocols. All other protocols will ignore any user defined values and instead use a default of 1.8 seconds.

Serial Port

This register determines the parity and stop bits for the serial port. The default setting is 8N1 (8 data bits, no parity, 1 stop bit).

Comm Mode (or Mode)

This register specifies what communications standard the hardware channel (COM port) employs. This register's list depends on what options are installed on your meter; for example, COM1 may only allow RS-232 or RS-485, or COM3 may allow either optical or modem communications. Refer to your meter's documentation for more details.

HshakeMode (handshake mode)

This register specifies the handshake mode the device is using when Comm Mode is set to RS-232. Selecting rts/cts instructs the device to wait for a clear-to-send (CTS) signal to be asserted before sending data to the computer. Selecting rts with delay instructs the device to wait for a specified amount of time after asserting the RTS signal before sending data to the computer.

RTS Level

This register indicates the active logic level (normal or inverted) asserted by the RTS line when Comm Mode is set to RS-232.

CTS Level

This register indicates the active logic level (normal or inverted) asserted by the CTS line when Comm Mode is set to RS-232 and Hshake Mode is rts/cts.

RS485 Bias

This register controls the biasing option on the RS-485 bus. When the meter is acting as a Master on this port, this should be set to on. When acting as Slave, it should be set to off.

NOTE: Ensure only one device on the serial loop has biasing enabled.

Modem Init

This register defines the initialization string sent to the meter's modem when the modem is dialed up. You should not change the contents of this register unless you are familiar with AT commands. Refer to your meter's documentation for a list of available AT commands.

Answer Hours

This string register defines the times and dates of the modem's answer hours. When a call is made to the meter's modem, the values in this setup register are compared with the internal clock's Local Time output register. If the Local Time falls within the Answer Hours, the modem will answer the incoming call in the number of rings defined in the Answer Hour Rings setup register.

Otherwise, the modem will answer after the number of rings defined in the Non Answer Hour Rings setup register.

The user-defined Answer Hours string can be up to 50 characters, and can define more than one time period. The following syntax is used when configuring the Answer Hours:

Syntax Description
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun These are the valid days of the week syntax for the Answer Hours setup register.
nn:nn The colon is used between two numbers to specify a time of day. Times of day are in 24-hour format.
, Commas are used to separate different days of the week, or times of day.
- The dash is used to create intervals between two days of the week or two times of day.
@ The “at” symbol is used to denote the times of day for the days of the week.
. The period is used to show the end of one answer hours time period. More than one time period can be set in the Answer Hours setup register.

For example, the syntax for an answer hours of Mondays to Fridays, 6:00 AM to 8:45 AM is:

MON-FRI@06:00-08:45.

When entering time periods that cross day boundaries (i.e., cross over 12:00 AM), you must use separate time periods. A valid entry for Answer Hours for Mondays at 11:00 PM to Tuesdays at 1:00 AM is:

MON@23:00-23:59.TUE@00:00-01:00.

Answer Hours of 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays would be:

MON,WED,FRI-SAT@11:00-14:00,20:00-23:00.

Note that any answer hours period must fall within the same day.

Answer Hours Ring

The number of rings before the modem will answer during the times specified in the Answer Hours setup register. Valid entries for this register are 0-255 rings; an entry of 0 rings disables answering.

Non Answer Hours Ring

The number of rings before the modem will answer if the time falls outside the Answer Hours. Valid entries for this register are 0-255 rings; an entry of 0 rings will disable answering.

IP Boot Option

This register specifies how the IP Address, Subnet Mask, Default Gateway and SMTP Server registers are updated. When set to BootP (Bootstrap Protocol), these values can be updated automatically by a BootP server on your network. When set to manual, values for the IP Address, Subnet Mask, Default Gateway and SMTP Server registers must be entered manually. Your Network Administrator can provide additional information regarding BootP.

IPv4 Assignment Mode

This register specifies whether the IPv4 address is manually entered by the user (stored) or automatically assigned by the DHCP server (dhcp).

IP Address (Stored IPv4 Address)

This register specifies the manually entered IPv4 address for the device. Each device on an Ethernet network requires a unique IP address. Typically, your network administrator provides the value for this register.

NOTE: The IP address must be set correctly before connecting to the Ethernet network. Failure to do so may result in network problems.
NOTE: For cell modem Communications modules, make sure IP address matches the IP address assigned by the cellular network provider.

Subnet Mask (Stored IPv4 SubnetMask)

This register specifies the manually entered IPv4 subnet mask value. A value in this register is only required if subnetting is applicable to your network.

Default Gateway (Stored IPv4 Gateway)

This register specifies the manually entered IPv4 gateway for your network. A value in this register is only required if communications between multiple Ethernet networks is applicable.

Primary DNS Server

This register specifies the IP address of the primary DNS server that the meter sends name queries to. This value must be a valid IPv4 or IPv6 address. Domain name resolution is required if a fully qualified domain name has been entered for either the SMTP server address or the NTP server address.

Secondary DNS Server

This register specifies the IP address of the secondary DNS server that the meter sends name queries to. This value must be a valid IPv4 or IPv6 address. Domain name resolution is required if a fully qualified domain name has been entered for either the SMTP server address or the NTP server address.

NTP Server

Use this register to specify the IP address of the NTP server that the meter synchronizes its clock to. This value must be:

  • a valid IPv4 address

  • a valid IPv6 address enclosed in square brackets

  • the fully qualified domain name of an NTP server (for example, ntp.cs.mu.oz.au). The name is limited to 80 alphanumeric characters, dot and dash allowed.

The default port is 123. On some meters, you can change the port number from the default by adding :<port number> to the end of the NTP server’s IP address or fully qualified domain name.

NOTE: If you enter a fully qualified domain name for the NTP server, you must also specify a DNS server.

Syslog Server

This register specifies the IP address of the syslog server that the meter sends event log information to. This value must be a valid IPv4 or IPv6 address. This register is used in combination with the Enable Syslog register located in the Event Log Controller module. When the Enable Syslog register is enabled and the Syslog Server register contains a valid IP address, event log information is sent from the meter to a centralized syslog server. If the Enable Syslog register is set to yes but the Syslog Server register does not contain an IP address, an event is logged in the meter event log indicating that the syslog is enabled with no server IP.

SMTP Server

This register specifies the IP address of the email server that the meter sends outgoing email to. This value must be:

  • a valid IPv4 address

  • a valid IPv6 address enclosed in square brackets

  • the fully qualified domain name of an SMTP server (for example, smtp.yourcompany.com). The name is limited to 80 alphanumeric characters, dot and dash allowed.

The default port is 25. If your SMTP server’s port number is different, you can change the default value by adding :<port number> to the end of the SMTP server’s IP address or fully qualified domain name. For example, 10.168.66.144:587.

NOTE: If you enter a fully qualified domain name for the SMTP server, you must also specify a DNS server.

SMTP Connection Timeout

This defines the time period the meter will wait when establishing a connection to an SMTP server. The default setting is 60 seconds, which is sufficient time if the SMTP server resides on your local network. If the SMTP server is accessed using a dial-up connection, you should increase the SMTP Connection Timeout value to allow the meter sufficient time to establish the connection. The exact value depends on the speed of your dial-up process.

SMTP Port Number

This specifies the meter port used to communicate with an SMTP server. Valid settings are 25 and the 49152-65535 private port range; the default setting is 25.

Enable Webserver

This register enables or disables the webserver entirely. Values for this register are yes and no.

Webserver Mode

This register determines the web protocol used by the webserver. Values for this register are: http, https, and https with http redirect.

Webserver Port Number

This specifies the meter port used by the webserver. The default port number is 80.

HTTPS Port Number

This register specifies the meter port used by the webserver for HTTPS connections. The default port number is 443.

Webserver Config Access (webserver configuration access)

This register determines whether or not you can configure your meter through a browser. Valid entries are enable or disable.

Default Web Page

The web page that appears at http://<meterIPaddress> (i.e. the web page that appears when you only specify the device and not the page). This register must identify a valid page on the device. The value range for this register is 1-85 characters with no spaces or slashes.

Ethernet Device Name

This specifies and identifies the host name of the device when using DHCP with DNS or DPWS for the network device discovery feature. The value range for this register is printable ASCII characters.

NOTE: For DHCP with DNS, it is recommended that characters be limited to alphanumeric plus underscores (_) and hyphens (-).

Modbus TCP Idle Timeout

This register determines the number of seconds the device maintains a Modbus TCP/IP connection after that connection becomes idle. Set this register based on how long to wait before closing an idle connection to make it available for a new connection. The range (in seconds) is 0-65535; 0 (zero) seconds disables the timeout feature.

TCP Keep Alive Minutes

This specifies the interval at which the meter sends signals to devices or workstations communicating with it via a TCP connection, keeping that connection alive. The range (in minutes) is 0-65535; 0 (zero) disables the feature and no signals are sent.

NOTE: If you are configuring this register, choose the Numeric Bounded Format as other formats may indicate incorrect time units.

ARP Cache Timeout

This specifies the amount of time after which an address for a device or workstation is deleted from the meter’s ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) table. The ARP table holds a limited number of addresses for network devices; deleting entries in the table makes room for new entries. The range (in minutes) is 1-65000.

Enable FTP

This register enables or disables the FTP server entirely. Values for this register are yes and no.

FTP Port Number

This specifies the meter port used to communicate with an FTP server. The default port number is 21.

Enable SNMP

This register enables or disables communication with the meter via SNMP (Simple Network Message Protocol).

SNMP Port Number

This specifies the meter port used by SNMP. The default port number is 161.

Enable DNP over TCP

This register determines whether socket connection requests from DNP over TCP/IP are accepted by the device. Values for this register are yes and no.

DNP Port Number

This specifies the meter port used by DNP. The default port number is 20000.

Enable ION over TCP

This register determines whether socket connection requests from ION over TCP/IP are accepted or not by the device. Values for this register are yes and no.

ION Port Number

This specifies the meter port used by ION. The default port number is 7700.

Enable Ethergate

This register enables or disables Ethergate on the device. Values for this register are yes and no.

Ethergate COM1 Port Number

This specifies the meter port used by the COM1 Ethergate. The default port number is 7801.

Ethergate COM2 Port Number

This specifies the meter port used by the COM2 Ethergate. The default port number is 7802.

Ethergate COM3 Port Number

This specifies the meter port used by the COM3 Ethergate. The default port number is 7803.

Ethergate COM4 Port Number

This specifies the meter port used by the COM4 Ethergate. The default port number is 7802.

Enable ModbusRTU over TCP

This register enables or disables Modbus RTU over TCP entirely. Values for this register are yes and no.

ModbusRTU over TCP Port Number

This specifies the meter port used by Modbus over TCP. The default port number is 7701.

Enable Modbus TCP

This register enables or disables communication with the device via Modbus TCP. Values for this register are yes and no.

Modbus TCP Port Number

This specifies the port number used by Modbus TCP. The default port number is 502.

Modbus TCP Holdoff

This register allows you to change the Modbus TCP connection holdoff time from the default 30 minute timeout to a value between 1 minute and 65535 minutes. After a third consecutive unsuccessful attempt to create a Modbus TCP connection as a Modbus Master, the module does not attempt to make a connection again for the duration of the value stored in this register.

Enable Telnet

This register enables or disables Telnet on the device. Values for this register are yes and no.

Telnet Port Number

This register defines the port number used by Telnet. The default port number is 23.

IEC61850 Port Number

This specifies the meter port used by IEC61850. The default port number is 102.

Enable DLMS Over TCP

This register enables or disables communication with the device via DLMS TCP. Values for this register are yes and no.

DLMS Over TCP Port Number

This specifies the port number used by DLMS TCP. The default port number is 4059.

Enable IPv6

This register enables or disables IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) features and communications with the device. IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) is used if IPv6 is disabled.

IPv6 Assignment Mode

This register specifies whether the IPv6 address is manually entered by the user (stored) or automatically assigned by the DHCP server (dhcpv6).

IPv6 Link Local Address

The IPv6 link-local address is the address used in device self-discovery, and can be used by hosts to communicate with the device in a private network. This IPv6 address is based on the device’s MAC address. The content of this register is read-only and cannot be modified.

Stored IPv6 Global Address

This register specifies the manually entered IPv6 global address which defines the network, subnet (if used) and unique device address of the device. Default factory setting is :: (none).

Stored IPv6 Gateway

This register specifies the manually entered IPv6 gateway address which defines the network, subnet and unique device address of the gateway used by the device to route communications to other internal subnets or external networks. Default factory setting is :: (none).

Enable DPWS

This register enables or disables DPWS (devices profile for web services) features and communications with the device.

Enable RSTP

This register enables or disables RSTP (rapid spanning tree protocol) features and communications with the device.

Domain Name

This specifies the domain name of the network where the device is connected. The fully qualified domain name of the device is the concatenation of the Ethernet Device Name and the Domain Name (for example, MydeviceName.MyCorporateNetworkDomainName.com.

10/100BaseT Port Config

This register controls the maximum link speed and duplexing of the Base-T Ethernet connection (RJ45 connector). Speed options are 10BASE-T or 100BASETX. Duplex options are half-duplex or full-duplex. The default setting is Auto-Negotiate (Auto), which automatically configures your Ethernet connection to the fastest possible setting.

100BaseFX Port Config

This register controls the duplexing of the fiber Ethernet connection (SC connectors). The two settings are Half-Duplex and Full-Duplex; default setting is Full-Duplex.

Connection 1 Protocol – Connection 6 Protocol

This register specifies the protocol used for cell modem connections 1 to 6.

Connection 1 Port Number – Connection 6 Port Number

This register specifies the port number to use to establish cell modem connections 1 to 6.

MEID/CCID

This register displays the Mobile Equipment Identifier (SIM card number) for the cell modem, if available. This number is required by the cellular network provider in order to active the cell modem on the network.

Allow Roaming

This register specifies whether or not the cell modem can be activated when the cellular carrier is set up for roaming. To allow this, set the register to yes

Set Firewall

This register specifies the IP addresses that are allowed to access the meter using the cellular modem, using the format IP address, subnet address. IP addresses outside the specified range are blocked.

APN

This register specifies the Access Point Name for the cell modem. Modify this register if requested by the cellular network service provider.

IMEI

This register specifies the International Mobile Equipment Identifier number for the cell modem.

Output registers

Acquired IPv4 Address

If IPv4 Assignment Mode is set to dhcp, this register contains the IPv4 address that the DHCP server assigned to the device. If IPv4 Assignment Mode is set to stored, this register contains the factory-default setting (e.g., 169.254.0.10).

Acquired IPv4 Subnet Mask

If IPv4 Assignment Mode is set to dhcp, this register contains the IPv4 subnet mask value that the DHCP server assigned to the device. If IPv4 Assignment Mode is set to stored, this register contains the factory-default setting (e.g., 169.574.0.10).

Acquired IPv4 Gateway

If IPv4 Assignment Mode is set to dhcp, this register contains the IPv4 gateway value that the DHCP server assigned to the device. If IPv4 Assignment Mode is set to stored, this register contains the factory-default setting (e.g., 255.255.0.0).

IPv4 Address

This register displays the IPv4 address (manually entered or acquired) currently being used by the device.

IPv4 Subnet Mask

This register displays the currently programmed IPv4 subnet mask value (manually entered or acquired) for the device.

IPv4 Gateway

This register displays the currently programmed IPv4 gateway value (manually entered or acquired) for the device.

Acquired IPv6 Global Address

If IPv6 Assignment Mode is set to dhcpv6, this register contains the IPv6 global address that the DHCP server assigned to the device. If IPv6 Assignment Mode is set to stored, this register contains the factory-default factory setting :: (none).

Acquired IPv6 Gateway

If IPv6 Assignment Mode is set to dhcpv6, this register contains the IPv6 address that the DHCP server assigned for the gateway that the device uses to route IPv6 communications. If IPv6 Assignment Mode is set to stored, this register contains the factory-default factory setting :: (none).

IPv6 Global Address

This register displays the currently programmed IPv6 global address (manually entered or acquired) for the device.

IPv6 Gateway

This register displays the currently programmed IPv6 gateway address (manually entered or acquired) for the device.

Signal Strength

This register displays the cellular signal strength in decibal-milliwatts (dBm).

Activation Status

This register displays the activation status of the cellular modem: not activated, activation stage 1, activation stage 2, activation stage 3, activated, or activation error.

Activate

This register is used in the cell modem activation process.

For more information, see the PowerLogic ION8650 cellular modem option product option document.

Network

This register displays the current network and cellular service provider for the cell modem.

All forms of the Communications module have the following output register:

Event

Any events produced by the Communications modules are recorded in the Event register. Typical events and their associated priority numbers are shown in the table below.

Event priority group Priority Description
Setup Change 10 Input links, setup registers or labels have changed.
Information 25 Time Sync signal acquired.
Information 25 Time set requested.
Information 25 Time set performed.
Information 25 Time sync signal lost.
Information 25 Cannot communicate with the DHCP server
Information 25 Cell activation
Infromation 25 Network registration

The Event output register stores the following information for each ION event: time stamp, priority, cause, effect, and any values or conditions associated with the cause and effect.

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