Educational Platform for Research of Industrial Protocols Based on NI PXI

Customer – Moscow Power Engineering Institute
Country – Russia

A learning process is not always easy and interesting, especially when it concerns researching industrial communication protocols. Most of the industrial protocols and interfaces are very complicated, and students need to research communication on real hardware to better understand the working principles.

The software and hardware platform we developed helps students learn the basics of industrial protocols and interfaces. It features useful exercises and demonstrations to help them understand the structures and operation principles of protocols. The platform includes the nine most popular industrial protocols, which are Controller Area Network (CAN), General Purpose Interface Bus (GPIB), Inter-Integrated Circuit (I2C), Modbus, RS232, RS485/422, Serial Peripheral Interface Bus (SPI), Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), and User Datagram Protocol (UDP).

The solution is based on NI PXI modular platform. It includes separate modules for each of the protocols and interfaces, as well as simulators to implement data transmission.

The educational platform is intended to facilitate learning the basics of industrial protocols and interfaces. The software combines interesting and useful exercises and demonstrations, which delivers a unique opportunity to deeply understand the structure and operation principles of protocols. With this platform anyone can understand protocols and interfaces, their purpose, how they work, transmission and reception methods, error checking methods and mechanisms (CRC or parity check), and more.

The software features 1–3 exercises for each of the protocols that test the student’s knowledge and help them to get the full idea of protocols, their differences, and common points. It provides a demonstration for each protocol to help visualize working protocol mechanisms (data transmission and reception). The software can also make reports for finished exercises. This option can be helpful for trainers as well as for students to have information about a student’s progress. The software features a multilingual interface with options for either English or Russian.

After successfully delivering the platform in Moscow Power Engineering Institute, we have developed a second version that offers support of additional protocols for the aviation industry: ARINC-429, AFDX, and MIL-STD-1553

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