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Remote Access to PLC


jebjeb
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So i work with alot of PLC's for work, and am working on a site where i cant use the customers internet connection to gain remote access to the PLC's ethernet port so i can manage and make sure things will be fine for the next week or 2 and then i can move on to the next site.

My question is, what would be the most cost effective method of having temporary remote access to the PLC's Ethernet port.

Usually when onsite i have a program on my laptop that connects to the PLC via Ethernet cable. But would there be an inexpensive way to give myself remote access? Could i utilize the LAN Turtle 3g in anyway?

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You would need access to the local network that the PLC is connected to.

One option would be a router with VPN that is connected locally to the PLC.  This way from your remote location you can connect to the local network via VPN then use your PLC software to connect to it.

Using the lan turtle 3G is an interesting idea that I'm sure a way could be found to make it work. The problem there maybe the protocol required for your program to work.  I don't have much experience with the lan turtle so someone else might have more info into using one.  I think it would have to be done with a reverse VPN connection using the lan turtle, but not sure.

Will you have access to a WAN connection at the site? Is there a LAN you can access at the site? Even possibly over wifi.   Or will all of this need to be self provided? 

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12 hours ago, trapman16 said:

You would need access to the local network that the PLC is connected to.

The PLC is'nt connected to any networks, it is a closed circuit system and the only way to configure it is by plugging my laptop into the Ethernet port of the supervisory panel.

12 hours ago, trapman16 said:

One option would be a router with VPN that is connected locally to the PLC.  This way from your remote location you can connect to the local network via VPN then use your PLC software to connect to it

I would need a LTE router, which would be my goto cheapest option. No internet available onsite what so ever.

 

12 hours ago, trapman16 said:

Using the lan turtle 3G is an interesting idea that I'm sure a way could be found to make it work. The problem there maybe the protocol required for your program to work.  I don't have much experience with the lan turtle so someone else might have more info into using one.  I think it would have to be done with a reverse VPN connection using the lan turtle, but not sure.

If i know i can make this happen with the LAN Turtle 3g i would buy one now.

12 hours ago, trapman16 said:

Will you have access to a WAN connection at the site? Is there a LAN you can access at the site? Even possibly over wifi.   Or will all of this need to be self provided?

Nothing what so ever, customer doesnt let anyone else on their networks at all. Any internet access will need to be provided by myself.

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I've done this before with OpenVPN and it works just fine.  I have a lan turtle that I've tested this with but only with a wired Ethernet connection.  If you can get the lan turtle 3g to connect via cellular and get it either on the same network as the one you or your software is on, or use a vpn like openvpn then you'll have it made.  I have run into a very similar situation as you.  Only the customer did give me a wired connection.  Saved me from many 8 hour round trips of driving!

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@jebjeb looks like @Bob123 might be the person with some good help for you.

1 hour ago, Bob123 said:

I've done this before with OpenVPN and it works just fine.  I have a lan turtle that I've tested this with but only with a wired Ethernet connection.  If you can get the lan turtle 3g to connect via cellular and get it either on the same network as the one you or your software is on, or use a vpn like openvpn then you'll have it made.  I have run into a very similar situation as you.  Only the customer did give me a wired connection.  Saved me from many 8 hour round trips of driving!

Im sure it can be done.  As long as you can get 3G signal within the building and some source of power converted to USB for the lan turtle.  Just not super familiar with how PLCs connect over Ethernet.  I would do some checking on the lan turtle OpenVPN module as that would be how to connect back to the lan turtle for your PLC program unless it supports another protocol like SSH, etc.

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Thanks Cap_Sig.

My only recommendation jebjeb is just be careful bringing hak5 gear to work or onsite.  All you need is one "know it all" IT guy to see it, find out it's a hacking tool, and your in deep trouble.  Regardless of what it's purpose is.  I enjoy the hak5 tools and enjoy learning with them but they are not tools that I would ever bring into a plant.  If and when I need remote access I can get off the shelf mini routers with built in VPN software or there's always the RPi that is way cheaper and again if the know it all IT guy sees it, it won't throw up any flags.  Again nothing wrong with the hak5 tools but when you say the word hack or hacking to someone who doesn't understand, their first and only impression is BAD!  Just my two sense.  Any questions on setting up OpenVPN or anything for remote PLC work let me know.

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2 hours ago, Bob123 said:

Thanks Cap_Sig.

My only recommendation jebjeb is just be careful bringing hak5 gear to work or onsite.  All you need is one "know it all" IT guy to see it, find out it's a hacking tool, and your in deep trouble.  Regardless of what it's purpose is.  I enjoy the hak5 tools and enjoy learning with them but they are not tools that I would ever bring into a plant.  If and when I need remote access I can get off the shelf mini routers with built in VPN software or there's always the RPi that is way cheaper and again if the know it all IT guy sees it, it won't throw up any flags.  Again nothing wrong with the hak5 tools but when you say the word hack or hacking to someone who doesn't understand, their first and only impression is BAD!  Just my two sense.  Any questions on setting up OpenVPN or anything for remote PLC work let me know.

Very understandable point.  Raspberry pi would be a good way to go in my opinion.  You could have it pretty much handle everything down to needing a USB or wifi hotspot for WAN connection.  There is quit a bit of information on setting up a pi this way around the web.

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