PortStore2

Serial - Ethernet CDR Buffer Box.

 

 

Warning: PortStore2 was replaced by PortStore2 PL

 

 

 

PortStore2 is serial RS-232 data storage buffer or data logger and Ethernet converter with TCP/IP and UDP/IP ability. It is provided with 2 048 kB of a flash memory for data storage from the serial port for the case of the inaccessibility of the TCP connection. PortStore2 support TCP Server or TCP Client/Server mode.

Software for retrieving data from buffer available. Built-in Virtual Serial Port support.

PortStore2
Big product picture


What is the difference between PortStore and PortStore2 devices?

  • PortStore only supports the TCP Server mode + SMTP email alert when the buffer is full.
  • PortStore2 supports the TCP Server or TCP Client/Server mode, but cannot send emails.

 

Basic features

  • The RS-232 serial port accessible 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 can work in TCP Client or TCP Client/Server mode.
     
  • PortStore2 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

PortStore2 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 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 PortStore2 as an ideal remote buffer and CDR/SMDR storage for their Call-Accounting and Telemanagement software solutions and services.

If the Portstore2 device is in the TCP Client mode, it tries to initialize the connection and send the data stored in the internal buffer. The data are stored in a “RAW” format in the delivered order. Then the device acts as a standard terminal server with remote serial port access.

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.

    PortStore2 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 35,000 typical call data records (CDR).

    For the purpose of PBX administration, PortStore2 offers Network Virtual Terminal (NVT) according to RFC2217.

    PortStore2 supports and is tested with these PBXs: Alcatel, Panasonic, Avaya, Siemens, Ericsson, Lucent Technologies (AT&T), Nortel and more...

    Reasons for the application of PortStore2:

    - Hardware consolidation

    - Flexible functionality

    - TCO (total cost of ownership) cut-down

    - Improve of legacy call accounting systems operation


    You can find more about this application in the "PortStore2 with PBX" application note.
  • Other ways of application

    Main way of application of the PortStore2 consists in call accounting systems, but our buffer can be used as a general data storage unit as well. RS-232 serial port utilization combined with Ethernet network availability makes the PortStore2 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.
    PortStore2 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 35,000 lines of text. For more information, please look at special article The PortStore buffer with a serial printer.

  • Card readers, RFID
  • PortStore2 CDR buffer 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 PortStore2 connection and the basic network protocols.
PortStore2 buffer topology
  • TCP/IP Client -> Server
    PortStore2 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".
  • TCP/IP Server <- Client
    PortStore2 received serial port data into its internal buffer and tries to send them to the server. It will try to open a connection to the preset IP address and port. If the attempt is unsuccessful, it waits for a second in the TCP Server mode and then tries to open the connection again.
  • UDP/IP
    The data are transferred in UDP packets, with no delivery notification.
  • 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



Technical specifications

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: None
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, UDP, 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.

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 on 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 PortStore2 and PortBox data recorders?
A: Both devices are designed for serial RS-232 to Ethernet conversion and are almost identical. PortStore2 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 PortStore2 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, PortStore2 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.

PortStore2 PL set

Recommended starting set PortStore2 set [600 299] for instant beginning of work with the PortStore.
  • Standardní balení PortStore2Box PortStore [600 298 ] in a plastic 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 shipped as starting set or only detached PortStore due to OID - ordering ID. Delivery time of detached product needs to be verified via telephone or it could be required during your order confitrmation.

OID Types of products
600 376
>Quotation
PortStore2 PL (photo)
Detached PortStore, without any accessory
600 382
>Quotation
PortStore2 PL set (photo)
Recommended starting set contains:
- PortStore2 PL [600 298]
- EU [600080] (photo) Wall plug Power adaptor
   can be replaced by USA [600081] (photo) or UK [600082] (photo) version
- DB9 LapLink cable 2m [600063]
- Manual, CD
600037 PortStore2 (photo)  (Warning: old type, use another..)
Detached PortStore, without any accessory
600038 PortStore2 set (photo of set )  (Warning: old type, use another..)
Recommended starting set contains:
- PortStore2 [600037]
- EU [600080] (photo) Wall plug Power adaptor
   can be replaced by USA [600081] (photo) or UK [600082] (photo) version
- DB9 LapLink cable 2m [600063]
- Manual, CD

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