Real Time Communication

The research focus of Real Time Communication group is the integration of Ethernet based communication protocols into embedded devices used in automation systems. Alongside deterministic communication the devices have to fulfill requirements for functional safety and IT security. In order to reach the various safety and security goals and requirements a complex set of different actions must be applied to the development process. This requires the careful selection of hardware components or processes in software engineering. This gives rise to the need of a non-interrupted tool chain.

In addition we would like to establish a consistent view coming from functionality analysis and assessment up to bus diagnosis and robustness testing. The experiences will be contributed to protocol specifications and implementations.

New project at ifak: MONAT - Model-based and demand-driven network configuration for automation and telecommunications networks

At the beginning of the new year, a new project started at ifak: MONAT - Model-based and demand-driven network configuration for automation and telecommunications networks. The research project MONAT aims to contribute to achieve trust in the new technology Software Defined Network for the establishment of virtual networks. This is only possible if it can be proven that, in addition to the required quality characteristics of the connection, it is also possible to implement security requirements without additional overhead. In addition, MONAT will examine the consistency of the developed configuration solutions for real-time-capable communication modules in the industrial automation sector, including the Time Sensitive Networking approaches on the one hand and the use of the same configuration solutions in the pure ICT area and implement them on the basis of demonstrators.

MONAT - Model-based and demand-driven network configuration for automation and telecommunications networks

The future project Industry 4.0 envisages new concepts for flexible production. Starting with the planning tasks, the commercial order processing up to the production-technical execution, tasks can be negotiated automatically and carried out cooperatively. This requires flexible communication between a wide variety of tools - from office-based tools in the ERP environment to real-time communication of components in the shop floor. Immanent for Industry 4.0 is the ability of participants to react dynamically to requirements at all levels and to find suitable communication partners on their own. From the point of view of the communication systems used, different requirements must be fulfilled, e. g. with regard to security requirements or real-time properties. It is not necessary to treat proprietary communication systems in the field separately.

ECOSSIAN - European Control System Security Incident Analysis Network

The protection of Critical Infrastructures (CI) like power generation, energy distribution, transport networks, water distribution or of strategic production sites for process or manufacturing industries requires approaches and solutions for detection of threats. As Critical Infrastructures depend on each other, solutions which support incident detection and management at the levels of individual CI, across CIs, and across borders are needed.

IPv6 potential analysis

Today the Ethernet-based communication systems play an important role in networking of industrial auto­mation components. Providing information on networking processes across different sites, remote mainte­nance and the close integration of business and production processes are typically applications. The Internet Protocol (IP) is an integral component in Ethernet-based industrial communication systems. In many appli­cations and use case scenarios the IP, actual in Version 4 (IPv4), will be used.

VAN – Virtual Automation Networks

Applying IT technologies up to the usage of public networks as the Internet for the communication of automation components requires the establishment of a respective open communication and integration architecture, which copes with the specific automation tasks, demands, security and safety requirements, and concurrently considers the changed basis from previously homogeneous automation islands to hete­rogeneous networks. This topic was tackled in co-operation with key players of the European automation industry within the integrated project (IP) Virtual Automation Networks (VAN) – funded by the European Commission.

PROFINET IO Specification

In 2002, the PI has started the specification of the PROFINET realtime protocol. Both parts, ‘Application Layer Service Definition’ and ‘Application Layer Protocol Specification’ are the basis. Within the working group TC2/WG11 ‘PROFINET IO’ this specification was revised and adapted. Work on these IEC-conform documents was supported by ifak. Besides corrections new technical features e.g. DFP, MRPD or system redundancy were integrated. 

COMO - COMO – COmpetence in MObility (sub project B3)

At the Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg interdisciplinary research is carried out in the framework of the research area Automotive. The sub project B3 of the project COMO deals with information IT security. The tasks deal with a threat-risk-analysis and also with the development of first guidelines as well as a concrete design pattern.

PROFINET IO Diagnosis Guideline

PROFINET IO is now available in Version 2.3. Besides the specification of the protocol behaviour, this specification also describes diagnosis aspects. This is a unique feature of the technology. Protocol internal diagnosis mechanisms are already defined. The utilisation of diagnosis functions in context of a plant is mostly left to the user. 

VuTAT - Vulnerability Tests of AT Components

In the research project VuTAT existing and established test tools and methods with IT security relevant aspects were analysed and a reverse engineering of the basis robustness test tool “Security Level 1 Tester” provided by the PNO (SL1T) was carried out. The SL1T is a first software solution of the whitepaper “PROFINET IO Net load”, which defines robustness tests only for PROFINET IO devices. Therefore impor­tant constraints for the tests carried out were established and a formal description of test cases in a test specification was dealt with. This formal description of the test cases is the basis for a test library implemen­tation in the VuTAT context used test framework “OpenVAS”.


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