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Inductive Automation: Ignition Networking and Devices

How many devices can I connect to my server?

Thanks to Ignition’s ‘sold by the server’ licensing scheme, there is no hard limit to the number of devices you can connect to a server. In practice, however, hardware limitations will put a cap on how many devices can feed back into a single server. The limits are usually caused by one of two things:

  • Network interface throughput
  • Processor speed/available time

Understanding these limitations can help you get the most out of your hardware, so let’s take a closer look at each of them.

Processor Speed

Processor speed limitations occur when the sever is receiving more data than it can process. They can be overcome in a few ways:

  • Reducing device poll rate
  • Upgrading server hardware
  • Adding additional servers

Reducing the device poll rate will cause your devices to send data less often, which gives your server more time for processing. It’s a good choice when the information you monitor doesn’t need updating in real time. Upgrading server hardware, on the other hand, uses increased raw power to crunch through data faster. Finally, adding additional servers has the same effect as upgrading hardware, but requires purchasing more Ignition server licenses.

Network Interface Throughput

When running many devices into a single server network port, it’s possible to outstrip that port’s bandwidth. When this happens you will have to address the issue, or risk losing data. Luckily, there are a few ways to mitigate the problem:

  • Reducing device poll rate
  • Implementing load balancing
  • Using sub-nets or multiple networks
  • Adding additional servers

As above, reducing device poll rate will decrease the data load of the system. However, it’s only an option when less-than-realtime monitoring is acceptable.

Adding additional servers, or using more network interfaces can help provide more bandwidth. However, you may find that your data load tends to overwhelm a single server instead of using all of your servers evenly.

To combat this, you can use load balancing techniques to evenly distribute your device load. Which will spread it across multiple network interfaces or servers, and help you get the very most out of your device.

For more information on Ingition, and how to make it work for you, visit https://www.inductiveuniversity.com/.

Updated on June 23, 2020

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