The market of products and services offers a wide spectrum of traditional solutions enabling the connection of PLCs (freely programmable controllers) with IT solutions. It is hard to make an ideal choice for your project without making a thorough comparison. We did it for you!
We have made these simple tables to see how they compare with the ConnectorIO Gateway to help you choose the best solution for your particular application. Please note that this is very generic view. Feel free to conduct your own assessment with pros and cons, especially in use case you are interested in.
Each PLC system uses its own engineering software. It means that portability of developed solution is limited and will require at least re-compilation. Many of PLC systems support custom protocols, however they must be implemented from ground up to fit into control loop of PLC.
|Limited by PLC adapters / libraries
|Limited by computer adapters / software
|Support for custom hardware
|Mainly provided by manufacturer
|Independent from manufacturer
|Mainly industrial and building automation
|Subset of industrial and building automation standards, wireless standards
|No or limited (soft realtime at most)
|Custom protocols implementation
|Yes (serial and network)
|Yes (serial, network and computer peripheries)
Wireless & Bluetooth connections
Wireless connectivity in control systems is far less popular than wired technology. This is due to fact that PLCs are often optimized for use-cases which can’t benefit from radio connectivity.
|Standards BT4+ / WM-Bus / Zigbee / ZWave
|NO / NO / NO or Indirectly / NO
|BT 4+ / WM-BUS / ZIGBEE / ZWAVE
|Bluetooth version supported
|4.0 , 5.0
|Bluetooth Beacon support
Application & implementation
Adoption of PLC systems and IoT gateways target different areas. While PLCs are perfect for real time and control tasks they might be imperfect for cloud connectivity. IoT gateways on other hand are less focused on control and usually target data ingestion.
Some PLCs brands have no security or fairly limited capabilities in this area. It is caused by fact that they are expected to run in isolated networks without external threats.
IoT Gateways are not picture-perfect, since they are usually more complex (due to operating system layer), they also have attack vectors. Their main advantage is easier software/operating system/firmware update process which do not require use of engineering software. A lot of maintenance tasks with IoT gateways can be automated.
|Advanced programming (structured text, visual blocks)
|Configuration + eventual scripting
|NO or vendor dependent
|YES + SDK (software developer kit)
|Changes in wiring
|Soft real-time, monitoring
|SCADA / BMS
|IIoT / Cloud
|Yes / No
|Yes / Yes
|Secure by default
|Remote operating system update