Remote connection to C-Gate

Remote connection to C-Gate

  1. JackD
    The toolkit software works with a C-Bus network indirectly through a piece of software called the C-Gate server. Normally, we would have the C-Gate Server and the Toolkit software running on the same computer. We take our computer to the site and connect to the PCI/CNI unit on that network and then carry out the programming. The process is quite transparent and for normal use we don?t even need to know about C Gate.

    However, since it is a different piece of software, the C-Gate server software can reside on a different computer from the one that is running Toolkit. At the site of the C-Bus installation we can start C Gate on a computer and leave it connected to C-Bus using one or more interfaces. Since we now have C-Gate running it is possible to connect to that computer from a different computer and program the network just as if we were actually directly connect to C-Bus locally.

    Let?s imagine that we have to program the lighting in a large stadium. We would like to be able to see the lights go on, off and ramp in the stadium as we make changes to the C-Bus programming; this is hard to do from a central control room. With C-Bus Toolkit you can use a central computer running C-Gate. This computer is connected to all the C-Bus Networks in the stadium, possibly via CNIs as well as PCIs. The commissioning laptop would be running C-Bus Toolkit and would connect to the central C-Gate to program the C-Bus Networks.

    The commissioning laptop would communicate to the central C-Gate computer using a normal PC LAN (Ethernet). Now, if the laptop had a wireless network card you could wander around the stadium at will and program various places in the building with ease.

    Now imagine that the stadium is so large that we have a number of people programming different parts of the project, one on the top floor, one on the Mezzanine and one out in the carpark. All three people could connect to the same C-Gate server and work at the same time.

    All the changes being made are stored in the same central repository; the C-Gate server and project files.

    Just to make the example concrete, let?s go through the steps we would need to perform to connect to the central C-Gate server. Since C-Gate is designed to support secure multi-user access it is necessary to setup permissions in C-Gate to allow other computers to connect to it. To do this, the central C-Gate server has to know the IP address of the laptop computer we are going to use to connect to it. This is configured in the file
    ?access.txt? in the Config directory.

    To correctly configure the ?access.txt? file we need to know the IP address of the computer, in this case the commissioning laptop, to add to the ?access.txt? file entries. To determine the IP address depends on the operating system on the laptop. For Windows 2000 and Windows XP open a command window and type IPCONFIG and press enter. This comes back with a list of addresses and one is labelled IP Address (if you have many Ethernet adapters, make sure you pick the IP address associated with the one used to connect to the LAN being used for commissioning).

    If you are using Windows 98, open a command window and type WinIpCfg and press enter. A window appears with your network configuration, as in the instructions one (or more) will be labelled IP Address.

    Which ever operating system you use, copy down the IP Address (for this exercise let?s imagine it?s and go to the Central C-Gate computer. We add a line to ?access.txt? to enable the laptop to connect:

    ##C-Gate Server Access Control File
    ## This file was written automatically by a command issued to the server
    ## Created:Tue Oct 05 16:22:26 CST 2004
    ## File name: C:\clipsal\c-gate\config\access.txt
    #interface 0:0:0:0:0:0:0:1 Program
    interface Program
    interface localhost Program
    remote Program
    ## End of access control file

    Now when C-Gate starts it will allow the laptop to form a connection and use it in programming.

    On the Laptop we start up the Toolkit just as we normally do and once it is running we select Disconnect Project Repository.

    Now we need to know the IP address of the Central C-Gate computer. We invoke a command window on the C-Gate computer and using the same commands listed above find the IP Address. Assume that it is for this exercise. Next we connect to a remote project repository like this:

    This brings up the C-Gate Site dialogue where we type in the IP address we got from the C-Gate computer:

    At this point we get a normal looking browser but all the projects are the ones on the C-Gate computer (exactly the ones we want). We can now program all the Networks and work from a remote location on our Laptop. We can turn on loads and reconfigure Units just as if we were working with the C-Gate computer.

    Now to extend the example, let?s imagine that we have another laptop we want to connect to the C-Gate computer so two people can work at once. All we would need to do is add another line like this to access.txt (assuming his IP address was
    remote Program

    When he goes to connect he too will be granted full programming privileges.

    One point to remember with multiple users is that when a network is being programmed, the entire network is locked against changes, so each user has to work on their own network.