Many PLCs, HMIs and building management systems can send out email messages. These devices house an email client which can send emails to an SMTP server. The SMTP servers run in the cloud and ensure that the email is transported to the correct recipient over the internet.
However, in recent years the security standards of SMTP servers have been tightened. Email clients, especially those in older devices, don’t typically support these new SSL standards. Consequently, they won’t be able to send out emails any longer. IXON has created a solution which aids the continuation of these services.
How IXON helps solve the insecure SMTP problem
To solve the SMTP problem on older devices, IXON offers an SMTP gateway to its Cloud Notify application. The service offers a robust, easy to configure and secure method to send notifications to users. How does this gateway work? IXON has created an SMTP catcher, which runs in the IXrouter. The SMTP catcher is basically a replacement for the SMTP server. Simply set up the controller so that it delivers its emails to the SMTP catcher in the IXrouter, instead of delivering it to the public cloud SMTP server.
A regular SMTP server would deliver the message to the recipient once it’s received a message from your device. The IXrouter’s SMTP catcher, however, will read the subject and body of the message. Part of the message (max. 255 characters) is then sent to the IXplatform and can be passed on as a value, such as “Alarm code 3”. Cloud Notify will then send a message to the users containing this value.
Additionally, Cloud Notify offers the ability to monitor the connection of the IXrouter. If, for example, a full day goes by without internet connection, the IXplatform will alert the users of the issue. This makes it a more reliable solution, as previously you wouldn’t know when the PLC was unable to send emails.