Bridging the Gap Between Ethernet/IP and Modbus Protocols

November 24, 2022 by Damond Goodwin

Moxa has released new Modbus RTU/ASCII/TCP-to-EtherNet/IP gateways with easy configuration and troubleshooting to bridge the gap between Modbus and Ethernet protocols.

Modbus To Ethernet 

Communication between Modbus and Ethernet is an important part of various plant automation installations. Legacy Modbus systems can be difficult for engineers to integrate into newer equipment installations, making a chasm between the two. Moxa is looking to reduce the amount of effort and frustration felt by engineers in these situations with the introduction of their new MGate 5135/5435 series. 

Moxa's MGate 5435 Industrial Gateway and MGate's 5135 Industrial Gateway

The MGate 5435 (left) and MGate 5135 (right). Image used courtesy of Moxa


The MGate 5135/5435 gateways creates a link between Modbus and Ethernet, allowing for easier bidirectional communication. This technology hopes to bring about greater efficiencies in the integration process in addition to reducing issues downstream when the equipment needs further changes or servicing. 


Moxa MGate 5135/5435

Moxa’s MGate 5135/5435 series has been designed to bridge the gap that still exists between Modbus and Ethernet. The MGate allows engineers to create a usable gateway for Modbus RTU/ASCII/TCP and EtherNet/IP networking. It works by integrating existing Modbus based devices onto an EtherNet/IP network. 

In order to do this, and create a connection where the two different protocols work in harmony, the EtherNet/IP essentially becomes a Modbus client, accepting the data to then be sent to the EtherNet/IP host. In order to ensure security between control systems and industrial equipment including stand alone machines, the MGate includes HTTPS encryption.    


Moxa MGate 5135 Gateway with one port

MGate 5135 with one port. Image used courtesy of Moxa


Configuration and Troubleshooting

Moxa has taken the time to create a user-friendly interface via a web-based console. This helps to make configuration simpler for engineers and technicians by eliminating the need to install extra utilities. For cases where offline configuration is necessary, a CSV file can be applied, eliminating the need for web-based configuration. 

Moxa has designed certain features into the MGate that help reduce future labor and downtime costs. They have designed the MGate to help eliminate the time consuming network troubleshooting process, so LED indicators, protocol diagnostics, traffic monitoring, and tag view have all been added to help with network troubleshooting timelines. 

The tools included for network diagnostics are useful, especially in the installation phase of the equipment. They help to find and diagnose the root cause of any issues that may come about in the installation process or anytime thereafter. When a Modbus device does not respond or becomes disconnected from the network, the PLC/DCS/SCADA system is notified by a status monitoring function. 

Fault protection is also utilized whenever a host becomes disconnected. The system will begin a status monitoring function that helps to keep end devices from being offline for long periods of time. 


Moxa's MGate 5435 Gateway with four ports

MGate 5435 with four ports. Image used courtesy of Moxa


Rugged Industrial Design

The industrial environment is often harsh, especially for electronic devices. The MGate takes this into account and features a compact metal housing that consists of rugged construction in order to protect the device. The housing makes the MGate suitable for different applications including:

  • process industry

  • factory automation

  • oil and gas

  • water and wastewater

With this in mind, the MGate can be used in nearly any type of environment where Modbus to Ethernet may be needed. 


Automation Network Connectivity 

Moxa is a company that focuses on connectivity for the Internet of Things. They are considered a leader in edge connectivity, industrial computing, and network infrastructure solutions. Their products can be found in over 80 different countries and total over 71 million products sold. They have more than 30 years of industry experience to help guide them.