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Ben H. Dorsey III VP, Marketing & Communications KMC Controls, Inc.
• BACnet—the standard (for the techie types) • BACnet—the community (for everyone) • BACnet—and you (hey, for you)
• BACnet is BIG
What is BACnet?
• An open standard • A data communications protocol • An acronym: Building Automation and Control Networks • A means of automating buildings and integrating building systems • A way of life!
So . . .
• BACnet is a data communications protocol and an agreed-upon set of rules for creating interoperable networks of building systems.
Encompassing . . .
• Mechanical systems • HVAC Central Plant (Chillers, Boilers, Large Air Handlers) • Lighting • Perimeter and Object Security • Fire and Life Safety • Elevators • The integration of all of the above.
Who did it?
• A working group (standard project committee) of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and AirConditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). • Began work in 1987 under tremendous opposition (some said it would NEVER be done). • Published as a standard in 1995. • Supported and maintained by ASHRAE Standing Standard Project Committee 135.
• By design, the standard is under continual revision. • First published in 1995. • In recent times, most manufacturers’ products have been designed to the 2008 edition of standard.
Not a Reactive Process
• Addenda are issued as the committee works. • Public review and comments are mandatory and common. • So, for example, when 2008 was issued, it consisted of 2004 + previously issued addenda. (No surprises.)
What the Standard Defines
• In essence, the standard defines the messages that devices exchange and how they are delivered.
Further . . .
• The rules of the protocol apply to
– – – – – – – – Electrical signaling Addressing Network access (master/slave, peer-to-peer) Error checking Flow control Message sequencing, segmentation, checkpointing Presentation format (compression, encryption) Message format
Source: Mike Newman, BACnet pioneer
• The protocol can be viewed as a matrix of layers.
• The nucleus to the BACnet atom—the smallest piece of BACnet information • Properties can be read and written. • Properties can provide command control. • They consist of names and values.
• Example: high_limit = 78.0 • The standard requires some properties; other properties are optional; still others can be proprietary. • Required properties must be implemented for each object type. • Optional properties do not have to be implemented, but if they are, they must conform to the specification.
• Property types 0 – 511 are reserved as standard. • 166 of these are currently defined in the BACnet specification. • Property types above 511 are proprietary and unique to the vendor. • The Vendor ID property is used to identify the manufacturer.
• Objects are the fundamental building blocks (atoms) of the standard. • Objects represent data that originates in physical inputs, physical outputs, or software processes. • Each BACnet Object possesses a number of properties.
• The standard specifies many types of objects:
Binary Input Binary Output Binary Value Analog Input Analog Output
Life Safety Zone File
Life Safety Point Group
Notification Class Device
Event Enrollment Pulse Converter
• Vendors can implement proprietary object types. • When they do so, they use standard data types to promote interoperability.
• Numerical identifier that combines object type and instance number. • Object types 0 – 127 are reserved to identify standard BACnet objects. • Object types 128 – 1023 are used to identify proprietary objects.
• BACnet devices will support any mixture of object types up to a limit of 4,194,303 instances. • Object IDs are typically referred to in this manner: Analog Input, 5
• Objects standardize the organization of data to facilitate the exchange of data between different vendors’ products.
• There are several device types or profiles specified by the standard:
– Advanced Operator Workstation (B-AWS) – Operator Workstation (B-OWS) – Operator Displays (B-OD) – Building Controller (B-BC) – Advanced Application Controller (B-AAC) – Application Specific Controller (B-ASC) – Smart Actuator (B-SA) – Smart Sensor (B-SS) – Other BACnet devices (B-Oth)
• Think of BACnet services as the messages that BACnet devices send to each other. • Some services read and write properties of one or more objects. • Other services send notification of alarms or special events. • Still other services read and write files.
• BACnet services follow a Client-Server model.
– A BACnet client is a device that requests a service – A BACnet server is a device that performs a service
Categories of Services
• Alarm and Event
– Routing & event notification
• File Access
– Accessing & manipulating files contained in devices
• Object Access
– Read and write properties – Create and delete objects – Manipulate lists of data
• Remote Device Management
– Remote monitoring and control of devices
• Virtual Terminal
– Used by a client user to establish a connection to an application program server in another BACnet device.
We wish to read the present value for an analog input called “SPACE_TEMP”
Service= ReadProperty ‘ObjectIdentifier’ = (Analog Input, Instance 5) ‘PropertyIdentifier’ = Present_Value
Operator Workstation (client)
MS/TP AAC (server)
Assuming the target machine can locate the object with this ID and the requested properties, the result would be:
Service= ReadProperty ‘ObjectIdentifier’ = (Analog Input, Instance 5) ‘PropertyIdentifier’ = Present_Value ‘Value’ = 72.3
The result indicates that the present value of “SPACE_TEMP” is 72.3
Source: ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 135-2004, page 494
• BACnet Interoperability Building Blocks • BIBBS are collections of services • BIBBS define 5 areas of interoperability:
– Data Sharing – Alarm and Event Management – Scheduling – Trending – Device and Network Management
BIBBs Summary Example: B-BC
• Data Sharing
– – – – Ability to provide the values of any of its BACnet objects Ability to retrieve the values of BACnet objects from other devices Ability to allow modification of some or all of its BACnet objects by another device Ability to modify some BACnet objects in other devices Generation of alarm/event notifications and the ability to direct them to recipients Maintain a list of unacknowledged alarms/events Notifying other recipients that the acknowledgement has been received Adjustment of alarm/event parameters
Alarm & Event Management
– – – –
• • •
– – – – – – – –
Ability to schedule output actions, both in the local device and in other devices, both binary and analog, based on date and time
Collection and delivery of (time, value) pairs Ability to respond to queries about its status Ability to respond to requests for information about any of its objects Ability to respond to communication control messages Ability to synchronize its internal clock upon request Ability to perform re-initialization upon request Ability to upload its configuration and allow it to be subsequently restored Ability to command half-routers to establish and terminate connections
Trending Device & Network Management
• • • • • • BACnet IP BACnet Ethernet (8802-3) Master Slave/Token Passing (MSTP) ARCnet LonTalk Point-To-Point (PTP)
Popular, fast. No real performance difference between this and 8802-3. Use BBMD or PAD router to get across an IP router. Popular, fast. No real performance difference between this and IP.
Cannot get across IP routers.
Very popular, especially as a low-level bus technology for AACs and ASCs. Uses EIA485 signaling over twisted pair wiring.
BACnet Layers vs OSI Layers
Standard OSI Reference Model
Application Presentation Session Transport Network Data Link Physical
Equivalent OSI Layer
BACnet Application Layer BACnet Network Layer
ISO8802-2 (IEE 8802.3) Type 1 ISO8802-3 (IEE 802.3) ARCNET MS/TP PTP LonTalk EIA-485 EIA-232
Application Network Data Link Physical
Source: ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 135-2004, page 9
– Useful when networks using different BACnet transport options need to exchange data.*
Operator Workstation on BACnet IP network
BACnet MSTP Controller Network
*This concept is referred to as “Internetworking.”
– Useful when devices on a BACnet network must exchange data with devices on a nonBACnet network.*
*This is also Internetworking.
So, what’s the difference?
• A router is really a pass-through device. It doesn’t change the form or content of the message but just the packaging—much like repackaging a standard USPS letter for sending via Fedex. • A gateway has to translate and is inherently more complex. It opens the letter, translates it into a second language, and puts it back into some sort of envelope and sends it on.
Source: Mike Newman, BACnet pioneer 35
How Does BACnet Work?
Making Requests and Interoperating
Source: David Fisher, PolarSoft
Typical System View
Operator Workstation Ethernet or IP LAN Router Gateway
Field Controller Level
ASCs & AACs Proprietary Controllers
BACnet-enabled Applications & other apps
Engineers & Educators
• Members of ASHRAE
– 12 standard regions with 7-16 chapters in each – Beyond America, ASHRAE reaches into Canada and South America. – Beyond the Americas, ASHRAE reaches into
• • • • • • Hong Kong Malaysia Philippines Singapore Taiwan Thailand Middle East India Africa Europe Scandinavia England Scotland Wales Ireland
• Consists of working groups:
– Applications – Lighting Applications – Life Safety & Security – Network Security – Objects & Services – Utility Integration – XML & Web Services
Manufacturers, Integrators, Owners
• BACnet International
– Formed in January 2000 to "encourage the successful use of the data communication protocol, "BACnet", in building automation and control systems, through interoperability and compliance testing, educational programs, and promotional activities."
Corporate BI Members (partial)
• Among the many initiatives undertaken by BACnet International are interoperability workshops or “plugfests.” • Dozens of member companies routinely take part in these 3-day events for validating product interoperability.
• BIGs consist of users, integrators, manufacturers, contractors, and other interested parties.
• BACnet Testing Laboratories
– Established under direction and continued supervision of BACnet International in Feb 2000 – “Our goal is to improve interoperability between BACnet products through a combination of BTL lab testing, multi-vendor interoperability testing, and adherence to the BTL's device implementation guidelines.” (former BTL Manager) – Lists products by issuing mark
• Has freedom to make requirements above and beyond the minimum requirements specified in the standard. • Manufacturers are given pretest guidelines. • Requires an extended engineering commitment of manufacturers.
BACnet & You
• • • • Why go BACnet? Engineer & owner considerations Is it really interoperable? What’s next?
• It is an accepted standard domestically (ASHRAE/ANSI 135-2008), in Europe (CEN TC 247), and worldwide (ISO 16484-5). • It was developed specifically for building systems. • While HVAC is at its roots, the standard nicely incorporates other integrated functions.
• It can be implemented on low-cost networks (dedicated or shared) and is extremely flexible in LAN types. • BACnet devices are cost-competitive with long-standing proprietary devices. • The standard specifically provides for scheduling, trending, and alarming.
• It is easily scalable at all levels for any size job. • It is completely open and not dependent on specific hardware. • It provides for automatic device discovery (saving installation costs).
• It does not specify hardware configuration. Therefore, configuration tools (required for initial device setup) vary by manufacturer. • No standard application types are defined; therefore, it’s not yet plug-n-play.
• Become familiar with PICS
– Protocol Implementation Conformance Statements – Defined format – Specify device type, BIBBS supported, Object Types supported, and Data Link layer transport options. – Required for each BACnet device – Available to you
• Become familiar with PICS. • Look for “native” BACnet.
– Native BACnet refers to a device that inherently represents data in BACnet format and communicates utilizing BACnet messaging. Native BACnet devices were designed from the ground up as BACnet (as opposed to adding BACnet functionality to a previously designed product).
“Native” BACnet 54
• Become familiar with PICS. • Look for “native” BACnet. • Specify BTL listed products.
– This is the BACnet community’s seal of approval.
• • • • Become familiar with PICS. Look for “native” BACnet. Specify BTL listed products. Demand training.
Is it really Interoperable?
Interoperability Case Studies
• We’re populating our web site and the web site of BACnet International with numerous case studies that illustrate multi-vendor interoperability and systems integration:
– http://www.kmccontrols.com/products/projectshome.aspx – http://www.bacnetinternational.net/success/stories.php
• One such KMC project was awarded “Best in Show” by BACnet International as the top interoperable project published on the BI web site in 2010:
– Kuwait Oil Company Project
Where is BACnet Going?
• BACnet support of IP communications lays the necessary groundwork for enterprisewide challenges. • To meet these challenges, however, will require greater utilization of Internet protocols developed in the IT realm.
XML & Web Services
• Not really applicable to field-level controllers but highlevel communications. • XML provides for examining high-level data while not being dependent on the communication protocol of the BAS, such as BACnet. • So, BACnet manufacturers need to support XML in the operator workstation, for example. • Further, web services, such as .NET, provide for greater possibilities in information exchange. • The SSPC 135 XML Working Group is defining how data can be exchanged consistently between building automation systems and other enterprise management systems.
• www.bacnet.org • www.bacnetinternational.org
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