PortStore PL

Warning: Product was replaced by PortStore2 PL

PortStore is a serial RS-232 data storage buffer or data logger and Ethernet converter with TCP/IP and UDP/IP ability. It is provided by 2,048 kB of a flash memory for data storage from the serial port in the case of the inaccessibility of TCP connection. If the buffer memory is full, the device sends an e-mail.

Software for retrieving data from a buffer (PS Eye) available. Built-in Virtual Serial Port support.

PortStore2
Big product picture


What is the difference PortStore and PortStore2 ?

  • PortStore supports only TCP Server + SMTP email notify when data buffer overflow
  • PortStore2 supports TCP Server or TCP Client/Server modes, no SMTP email supported.

 

Basic features

  • 1x RS-232 or serial port accessible via Ethernet (TCP/IP or UCP/IP).
  • via Ethernet (TCP/IP or UDP/IP).
  • The incoming serial port data are stored to a 2,048kB flash memory buffer. When a TCP connection is established the data is sent as a “RAW TCP stream” data flow.
  • The flash memory, where the data are stored, is protected against power failure.
  • Local configuration over RS-232 or remote configuration over TCP Terminal is possible.
  • The device only works in the TCP Server mode. When the buffer memory is full (75% and 92%), the device will send an email over the predefined SMTP server.  
     
  • The PortStore can be used for storing RS-232 incoming data and their retrieving via Ethernet (e. g. call data records - CDR/SMDR - from PBX for remote call accounting or telemanagement purposes or other remote data collection) as well as for remote serial port access over Ethernet network (e. g. for remote PBX administration).
  • The remote port can be controlled by Virtual driver for Windows such as COM 5 (driver for Windows 2000/XP is included for free) compatible with RFC2217.
     
  • Two devices can be connected to each other to create "RS-232 over Ethernet" connection.
       
  • There are programming libraries for MS Visual Basic, Delphi, Borland C++, JAVA, PHP and other available to the device.
     
  • We also provide “PS Eye” software for regular buffer reading. It can work as a “NT service” under Windows NT/2000/XP. Available as an executable file or as source code (Borland C++).

 

Typical applications

The Success Story

PortStore is reliable and operable 24/7. We introduced the first remote buffer box in 2002 and since this time we have had many satisfied customers and partners all over the world.

Typical application of the PortStore2 device is remote access to RS-232/RS-485 technology (e. g. CDR/SMDR port of PBX). In case there is no TCP connection available, the device stores the incoming serial port data into the internal flash 2,048kB buffer memory.

Our partners use PortStore as an ideal remote buffer and CDR/SMDR storage for their Call-Accounting and Telemanagement software solutions and services.

PortStore waits as a TCP server until any side (PC or server) opens a TCP connection. When the connection is established, the internal buffered data are sent in the RAW format and in the received order. Then the device allows communication as a standard "terminal server".
When the memory buffer gets full PortStore sends an email to two specified email addresses via external SMTP.

In case you demand authorization because of security concerns, our PortStore2 offers 128bit TEA algorithm.

Application examples

  • PBX systems – collecting call accounting data from PBX
    Ethernet PBX buffer schemeA phone branch exchange usually provides call accounting data (which line dialed what number, when, how long did it take), which needs to be analyzed using a special software. The PBX sends the call data records to the RS-232 serial port, but mostly does not have enough buffer memory to store the data in case the receiving device is not working.

    PortStore then receives this data via the RS-232 serial line, stores it in the internal buffer memory, so it can be occasionally downloaded via Ethernet network using a special (Call Accounting or Telemanagement) software. In many cases, the server downloading data is in the company’s central office and the branches are spread all over the country, connected only using Ethernet network. The buffer capacity is enough to hold 80,000 typical call data records (CDR).

    For the purpose of PBX administration, PortStore offers Network Virtual Terminal (NVT) according to RFC2217.

    PortStore supports and is tested with these PBXs: Alcatel, Panasonic, Avaya, Siemens, Ericsson, Lucent Technologies (AT&T), Nortel and more...

    Reasons for the application of PortStore:

    - Hardware consolidation

    - Flexibile functionality

    - TCO (total cost of ownership) cut-down

    - Improve of legacy call accounting systems operation

    You can find more abou this application in the "PortStore with PBX" application note.
  • Other ways of application

    Main way of application of the PortStore consists in call accounting systems, but our buffer can be used as a general data storage unit as well. RS-232/485 serial port utilization combined with Ethernet network availability makes the PortStore suited to a wide spectrum of applications in industry and services.

     

  • Serial printer data storage
    Data storage schemeThe security central writes all the security information into the serial printer, so the data can be archived. This printer, of course, must be operated by a person with at least basic skills and the data are not available in electronic format.
    PortStore can store these data in its internal flash memory, so the data can be downloaded from the company’s office. The buffer capacity is enough to hold 80,000 lines of text.
    For more information, please look at special article The PortStore buffer with a serial printer.
  • Card readers, RFID
  • PortStore2 photoExchange displays
  • Security alarms
  • Attendance systems
  • UPS control and logging
  • Data recording
  • CNC machines
  • Chemical and gas chromatographic tools
  • Bar code readers

 

  

System topology

Here you can see the typical PortStore connection and the basic network protocols.
PortStore topology
  • TCP/IP Server mode [Client -> Server]
    PortStore waits as a TCP server until any side (PC or server) opens a TCP connection. When the connection is established, the internal buffered data are sent and then the device allows communication as a standard "terminal server".
     
    While waiting to the TCP connection, the buffer is watched and emails are sent when the buffer is 75% full and then when the buffer is 90% full. The emails are sent to a preset email address, which can be configured in the setup together with the email subject.
     
  • VSP (Virtual Serial Port)
    You have a HW VSP software which creates a virtual COM port under Windows OS, so that the device acts as if it was connected directly to your PC, though it is a virtual remote port. If the buffer is enabled and the TCP connection is not available, the data is stored into the internal buffer memory. For the full function it’s advantageous to enable NVT (Network Virtual Terminal), so the port is RFC2217 compatible.

 

Download & Datasheets

Flyer Manual

 

Technical parameters

Serial port RS-232
+ Data bits 7 or 8 or 9
+ Stop bits, Parity 1 or 2, None / Odd / Even / Mark / Space parity
+ Baud rates 50..115.2 kBd – entire range, step = 50 Bd
+ Data flow control Xon/Xoff, CTS/RTS, None
+ Interface 1x DB9M (RxD,TxD,RTS,CTS,GND)
+ Virtual Serial Port SW HW VSP available for OS: Windows 98, 2000, XP, NT 4.0
+ Used RS-232 signals RxD,TxD,RTS,CTS, (DTR output – defined voltage level only)
 
RS-232 Buffer memory
+ RS-232 Buffer memory 2,048 kB Flash for incoming serial data
+ Buffer overflow signalling Network: Email alert when 75% and 90% buffer capacity full
RS-232: HW or SW handshake if buffer is full
+ Buffer type Linear FIFO data space
+ Buffer data readout format RAW binary TCP/IP stream
 
Ethernet port
+ Interface RJ45 (10BASE-T) – 10 Mbit or 10/100 Mbit network compatible only!
+ Compatibility Ethernet: Version 2.0/IEEE 802.3
+ Supported protocols IP: ARP, TCP + NVT (Network Virtual Terminal)
+ Supported TCP/IP modes TCP Server, TCP Client/Server
+ TCP connection close timeout timeout 50s (with enabled NVT – can be prolonged by ACK/NOP)

 

Environment
+ Operating temperature +5 .. 50 °C (41 .. 122°F)
+ Storage temperature -10 to 85 °C (14 .. 185°F)
+ Humidity (non-condensing) 5 to 95 %

 

Physical parameters
+ Power supply requirements 8-15V / Max. current consumption 200 mA DC
  - barrel (coaxial) power connector, GND on the shield
+ Dimensions 28 x 105 x 135 [mm] (1.1 x 4.1 x 5.3 [in]) (H x W x D)
+ Weight 395 g (0.87 lb)
 
Functional parameters
Device SETUP configuration options - RS-232 Setup over any RS-232 terminal with DIP1=ON
- TCP/IP Setup - using any telnet terminal on the TCP/IP 99 port
- Hercules SETUP utility via UDP (basic network parameters only)
Diagnostic LEDs - Power (green)
- Link & Activity (yellow)


Electrical scheme


Possible device extensions, what are we working on...

The following options will be added in the following firmware versions. Special functions marked as "customer solution" were realized for some of our customers and we can supply them upon request.

  • FTP server - the data are shared as one file over standard FTP protocol ( active and passive FTP )
  • Timestamps - A timestamp in predefined format can be inserted before or after the defined character in the data stream. The real time is synchronized over the network using for example the NTP protocol.
  • Special transfer protocol of the data file. You have several options, starting with a simple command mode, up to the HTTP protocol with the possibility to erase the buffer or to resend the stored data.
  • Sending the data files via email (SMTP) , as an attachment. The email can be sent when the data file has reached a predefined size, or at a predefined time.
  • Buffering only the data which begins with a predefined string - customer solution.
  • Built-in 4x Ethernet port 10/100 Mbit switch Ideal for applications, where you don't have enough free ethernet ports or cables, or you cannot use a stand-alone switch or hub - customer solution.

If you are interested in some of the solutions, feel free to contact us.

 

Useful SW

  • Hercules SETUP Utility
    Setting up and testing utilityThis utility will help you testing and setting up the device.
       
    • RS-232 terminal
    • TCP/IP Client terminal
    • TCP/IP Server terminal
    • UDP terminal
    • UDP Config
    • Test mode (TCP/IP NVT commands + TEA)

    This utility is completely free to use...  
    Hercules Setup Utility            

      
  • HW Virtual Serial Port
    Free virtual serial port utilityVirtual serial port driver for Windows is a software tool for adding a virtual COM port to your Windows system. All the data from this port is then redirected to another HW interface.
    • Unlimited, free Virtual Serial Port for any TCP/IP device.
    • Designed for Windows 2000, XP.
    • If the device supports RFC 2217 (NVT), you can setup all the serial port parameters (speed, parity, stop bits).
    • The driver works as a "TCP client", but it can be also used in "TCP server" mode.
    • Logging all the communication into a file, to make debugging easier.
    • You can create more virtual serial ports on one system using command line parameters.
    • The software can be run o a windows startup and hidden to the system tray.

    HW Virtual Serial Port            

FAQ & Support

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Q: What is the difference between PortStore2 and PortStore data loggers?
A: Both devices have integrated flash memory for incoming serial port data buffering (in case the TCP/IP connection is not available). The PortStore device works ONLY in TCP Server mode, the PortStore2 supports the TCP Client / Server mode.
Another difference is the device behaviour when the memory is full:
- PortStore2 does not notify on the network that its buffer is full
- PortStore can send an email to the preset email address (using external SMTP server).

Q: What is the difference between the PortStore and PortBox data recorders?
A: Both devices are designed for serial RS-232/485 to Ethernet conversion and are almost identical. PortStore has additional flash memory for collecting incoming serial port data, when TCP/IP connection is not available. PortBox only has the 1kB/1kB RAM cache.

Q: Is the DHCP supported by PortStore and PortStore2?
A: NO, a lot of our custo mers had troubles in the past with the DHCP servers which did not assign IP address by MAC address table after the system power-up. It sometimes generates strange errors after months of correct functioning. The DHCP support was removed.

Q: How does the RS-232 device know that the device's buffer is full?
A: PortStore2 supports HW and SW (Xon/Xoff) handshake. In case of full memory buffer, PortStore2 changes the RTS pin level (HW handshake), thus notify ing the connected device that it is unable to accept any data. If you are using a SW handshake, the data flow is controlled using Xon/Xoff commands. If you need to know more about RS-232 standard, read our article at: http://www.hw-server.com/rs232.

Q: I can't configure the PortStore over network using the Telnet on the TCP port 99, although it should be enabled. Why?
A: The TCP Setup is available only if it is enabled in the terminal Setup mode. You can enable it over RS-232 Setup or in the UDP Config. Check the "Enable TCP Setup" checkbox in the UDP Config (detailed screenshot), if it's unchecked, check it and "Apply Changes". The TCP Setup is available on the TCP Port 99 now.

Q: I am not familiar with reading the data from the buffer in RAW format, can I use FTP, or HTTP?
A: Unfortunately, PortStore does not allow this. However, we are currently working on a PortStore3 device, which will have this feature. As soon as the device is ready for shipping, we will inform you on our website an in the HW group newsletter - subscribe.

Q: How do you ensure communication security?
A: For increasing the security of data transfer in TCP mode it is possible to authorize both sides on establishing any TCP/IP connection via TEA 128bit algorithm with symmetric signature. The configured password of both sides then won’t go through the network. This option is possible only for TCP/IP connection. UDP mode is designed only for local networks. Detailed description of TEA can be found in the handbook “Programming of Ethernet Applications” on our website. You can also set the device to communicate with one IP address only. It will not even answer PING command from other addresses.

Q: I have troubles with RS-232 parameters update after change in the Setup mode.
A: YES, please restart the device by disconnecting the power supply after every RS-232 parameters change (like the Handshake or Baudrate) and IP parameters (like IP and Mask). The TCP Setup Restart isn't sometimes enough!

Q: Is it possible to prolong the connection timeout?
A: Standard limit after which the connection is terminated in case of no data flow is 50s. It is possible to enable option „K: Keep connection“, which sends, in 10-second intervals, the NOP command into the open NVT connection.

Q: The device is working, but it does not collect any data.
A: After enabling the buffer using the "&F1" command, do not forget to initialize it using the "F" command.

Q: Are you planning to publish some software examples for PortStore2?
A:  Yes, check our Support & Download page for many examples for Borland C++ and Delphi (as well as Visual Basic, JAVA and PHP). We will soon release a software for reading the buffered data.

 


Ordering

Available now, you can have it on your table in 3 days! We have a minimum of 20 pcs on stock at all times. It can be shipped via FedEx next day all over the world. We accept payement by Credit Cards (you have to print, fill in and fax the OrderForm) or Wire Transfer, check our prices in the PriceList .

Or try to contact your nearest distributor of our products - International Distributors.

PortStore set

Recommended starting set PortStore PL set [600036] for instant beginig of work with the PortStore.
  • Box PortStore [600035] in a sturdy metal enclosure.
  • 1x Power adaptor "wall plug" - Euro version - [600080]
    or UK version - [600082]
    or US version - [600081]
  • DB9 LapLink cable 2m [600063] (photo)
  • Printed User's manual
  • CD with documentation, other versions of firmware, testing utilities and more...

-> Order form  

Variations of order

PortStore can be shiped as starting set or only detached PortStore due to OID - ordering ID. Delivery time of detached product is needed to be verified via telephone or it could be required during your order confirmation.

OID Types of products
600 296
Canceled
PortStore PL (photo)
Detached PortStore, without any accesory
600 297
Canceled
PortStore PL set (photo)
Recommended starting set contains:
- PortStore [600296]
- EU [600080] or USA [600081] or UK [600082] Power adaptor
- DB9 LapLink cable 2m [600063]
- Manual, CD
600 035
Canceled
PortStore (photo)  (Warning: old type, use another..)
Detached PortStore, without any accesory
600 036
Canceled
PortStore set (photo of set)  (Warning: old type, use another..)
Recommended starting set contains:
- PortStore [600035]
- EU [600080] or USA [600081] or UK [600082] Power adaptor
- DB9 LapLink cable 2m [600063]
- Manual, CD

More accesory

Related products and Utilities

  • AN22 - How to send an e-mail from the PortStore buffer device
    The PortStore buffer device has the facility to send e-mail alert when power failure occurs or the buffer is getting full. These functions are useful when you use PortStore as CDR/SMDR buffer for PBX in remote location. To use this function, it is necessary to have installed a SMTP server on the network which takes care of e-mail delivery. This application note describes configuration of the PortStore with a freeware SMTP server for MS Windows - Free SMTP server.
  • PortStore2
    2,048 kB Flash memory, supports the TCP Client/Server mode. The typical application is connecting phone branche exchanges over ethernet network and reading the stored data.
  • PS Eye - SW for PortStore and PortStore2
    PS Eye is a simple utility, which reads RS-232/485 data over Ethernet in regular intervals. The software is a simple utility but it can also be used as a background for your own application, as the Borland C++ source codes are free to download.
  • PortBox
    Conversion of a serial line to Ethernet and vice versa (Server or Client/Server mode) with RS-485 support and protocol enhancements. Data is transmitted over the Ethernet using the TCP/IP or UDP/IP protocols.  
  • HW Virtual Serial Port
    Free Virtual Serial Port driver for Windows is a software tool, which adds a virtual Comm port to the system, for instance COM5, and all the data from this port is re-directed to another TCP/IP device on the Ethernet network.  .