LonWorks is not just a protocol or physical layer for communication but an exclusively designed networking technology platform to install, maintain, monitor and sense various automation and control applications. Essentially LonWorks was established for a range of automation functions within buildings such as lighting and HVAC. Invented by Echelon Corporation, the fundamental communications platform, twisted pair signaling technology, power line signaling technology, and IP tunneling method constitutes a global standard documented ISO/IEC 14908.
A set of services is offered by the LonWorks Protocol that enables all devices in the network to transmit and receive messages to and from other devices via their application program— requiring no acquaintances with network topology or the other devices' names, addresses, or functions. Besides, LonWorks Protocol can be made to deliver authentic, high priority messages within delimited transaction times. Moreover Network management services allow remote network management tool’s interaction with devices over the network; making them capable to reconfigure network addresses and parameters, download application programs, report network problems and Start/stop/reset device application programs. Consequently it’s relatively easy to employ LonWorks network over any medium, including power line, twisted pair, radio frequency (RF), infrared (IR), coaxial cable, and fiber optics.
- A processor identified as Neuron chip embracing three 8- bit inline processors designed by Echelon is well optimized for control network devices. Out of three processors: two are committed for the communications protocol and one is a general-purpose applications processor.
- Standardization of the variables used to illustrate physical things to LonWorks is maintained by LonMark International and each standard is known as Standard Network Variable Types (SNVTs).
- LNS Network Operating System is a mandatory software component of open control systems which ensures an open environment for extending, maintaining, and managing LonWorks based systems.
Building Control Networks
A P2P (peer to peer) architecture is undoubtedly the preeminent way to build control networks. Being exclusive of a single master control, P2P-based control network confers high reliability and high performance to its users. Unlike other control networks, in P2P architectures, there is absolutely free and open communication between network devices which automatically puts a stop to the system collapses that could occur whenever the master stops working.
Amongst the extensive range of LonWorks technology applications the vital nine are listed below:
- Semiconductor manufacturing
- Lighting control systems
- Energy management systems
- Heating/ventilation/air-conditioning systems
- Security systems
- Home automation
- Consumer appliance controls
- Public street lighting, monitoring, and control
- Gas station control