Protocol Series: What is Lonworks?

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What is a protocol?

We’re talking about a communications protocol, which is a common ‘language’ which allows connected devices to ‘talk’ to and understand each other. A building management system will generally use a common protocol or language between devices such as a HVAC system, lighting automation controls and access control.

What is LonWorks protocol?

LonWorks is a network communications protocol commonly used in building automation and in many other diverse applications such as street lighting, subway signalling and smart electricity metering. It can operate through many physical communication layers – commonly a single pair of cables, but also through Ethernet, fibre, or even powerlines. LonWorks was first standardised in the late 1990’s by Echelon Corporation, who still own the rights. It has become one of the most common building automation protocols, along with its rival BACnet.

How can my industrial control system talk LonWorks?

Because LonWorks is designed for building automation rather than industrial control systems, very few industrial PLC’s can converse natively in LonWorks protocol. It’s usually necessary to use a converter from a more common industrial protocol such as Ethernet/IP or Modbus TCP to LonWorks.