Compas: The controller software

 

Compas, the Alpha-Technologies controller, can extend the range of applications of a traditional energy or monitoring system. It is a powerful site monitoring with advanced technologies, allowing the supervision and the control of:

  • Environmental issues: temperature, humidity, water detection, etc.
  • Access control issues: RFID badge reader, door lock, open door detection, etc.
  • Integrity issues: vandalism and traffic accident detection
  • Third parties devices : Energy meter, SNMP devices, etc.
  • Custom needs : Ask us to know what we can do for you
  • ...

 

Our solution suits for small and large network infrastructures, also with heterogeneous architecture. It is the ideal solution for access networks cabinet monitoring and control. This platform allows customization to satisfy your needs. Compas can be easily integrated in your management system. It supports a broad range of standard communication protocols and does not request any proprietary application.

The Compas data gathering unit exists in multiple executions:

  •  
    A standalone 1U high chassis for larger energy systems or as a power independent solution, e.g. shelters and buildings
  •  
    Embedded in DC energy systems or power shelves to reduce costs and space.

All executions are powered by the dc system and thus taking the benefit of the power reliability (24v, 48v, 110v…). The principle of the data collection is described in the figure below.

 
User Interface

The information collected by Compas is accessible on any standard web browser. The user must type the compas IP address in the address bar and is then invited to introduce his login and password. The structure of the screen is very easy to understand and is the translation of the ETSI standard. On the left, one finds the equipment installed on the site. In the horizontal bar the various functions: description, alarm, event, live data, data records, configuration, and control. The information available in the center of the screen relates to the combination of the horizontal function and of the selected level of equipment. In the example given below, a red highlight indicates that the site is in major alarm. It is then possible to get the information by clicking on the device.

 
Visual Embedded Dashboard

When you are on some devices dashboards, you have a visual dashboard. It will give you mains information using a visual system.

 

Using our JS API, you are able to create custom dashboards.

Alarms system and event system

In the alarm tab, you are able to see all alarms and acknowledge them.

 

In the Compas controller, you are also able to map alarms easily to a relay or even configure set and reset delays. (Only if you have administrative right)

 

Compas supports multiple flexible alarms notification systems:

  • Email
  • ETSI XML posting
  • SNMP Trap

 

Records and charts

Compas offers a unique and very interesting function with records and charts. Each data can be configured to be saved with a specific time frame. It will give you the opportunity to have a very high level of accuracy on the interesting information’s.

By selecting the record tab, you will be able to get all historical data. We can directly identify the power failure and the time of power outage as illustrated here below.

Naturally, as we work with open files and standards, data can be retrieved in CSV, Json or XML files for further manipulation in any software.

 
Renaming and language

Having understandable names for field technicians is really important. Compas allows you to rename every alarm, description, configuration (...). We use UTF8 to store the names so you can even rename it using Chinese or Russian language if you want.

 

While it is important to change an element’s name, Compas gives you also the opportunity to translate the complete web-interface in the desired language.

 
Programming capabilities

In Compas, we have two main ways to program the card in order to make it do whatever you need.

  • PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) gives you the opportunity to add a customized alarm & data. This system can do most of the work if you just want to operate on data that the system has already.
  • CompasLua is a complete programming interface available directly in Compas. You will be able to create devices, their data, alarms, descriptions... Callbacks are possible for the control usage. By giving you well-documented functions, you will be able to use the controller communications. You have virtually no limit in what you want to monitor. You can also implement your algorithms and devices without modifying Compas. Our engineering team will support you at the beginning if necessary.
 
Other functionalities

The Compas controller has many others functionalities. Here is a non-exhaustive list:

  • Https
  • Cloud Link
  • USB support
  • Radius Authentication
  • Modbus agent
  • Energy system manager
  • Time management
  • Statistics and logs
  • Dashboards
  • On-board help
  • (…)
Protocol reliability

Compas has been designed to offer the greatest scalability and reliability of operations on small and large networks (from a few to tens of thousands nodes). This is why Alpha Technologies recommends XML open source protocol as a solution.

SNMP Reliability weakness

SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) makes use of lower level UDP (User Datagram Protocol). UDP uses a simple transmission model without implicit hand-shaking dialogues. In consequence UDP provides an unreliable service and datagram's may:

  • Arrive out of order
  • Appear duplicated
  • Go missing without notice

UDP assumes error checking is done at the application level but SNMP (the application) does not implement error checking either. If, for any reason, the network is down at some point, the SNMP information will be lost and is never recovered. Because of such a problem, most operators keep a redundant system for alarm management generally on dry loop but then increasing costs and complexity of network management.

XML solution

The solution is to use XML.

In such a communication, the server remains passive. The acknowledgment is done at TCP/IP level. The node equipment (Compas) detects the loss of network connection to the server and repeats the XML event posting periodically until it gets acknowledgement from the server.

In addition each Compas site can send information to two distinct servers either in parallel or in redundancy if the path to the primary NMS server is down. <

An additional benefit of XML is the automatic upgrade of the application. Indeed XML is basically plain text message and can be read immediately. SNMP traps request to be interpreted at the NMS level. If a new trap is created at a site level, the application must be upgraded at the central level, contrary to XML where the metadata information can be read in plain text.

Security
 

Compas supports one administrator and five user profiles, each protected by password. The access to the site is based on complex “Digest Access Authentication” (RF2617). Passwords are never transmitted over the lines and thus cannot be intercepted.

Compas can also add an HTTPS layer in order to encrypt the navigation and post. This protects you from traffic interception.