Modbus Protocol in Industrial Networks: Definition, Applications & Equipment

Instructor: Prashant Mishra

Prashant is currently pursuing his bachelors in Computer Science and Engineering.

In this lesson, we will define the Modbus protocol and its application in industrial networks. We will also describe equipment that uses/supports Modbus. We will conclude with Modbus TCP and how it is integrated with Ethernet protocol.

What Is Modbus?

Modbus is a serial communication protocol introduced in 1979, which enables data communication between various servers and clients on different devices, networks and locations. It is an application layer data protocol.

Modbus is an open-source protocol, i.e., it is free to use and can be downloaded online easily. The device to which the data is sent, or the destination system, is known as the Modbus master, whereas the device from which the data is sent, or the source system, is known as Modbus slave.

Why Is Modbus Becoming Popular Among Industries?

Modbus's popularity is increasing with each passing day because of the following reasons:

  • It is open and free.
  • It can cater to almost all industrial needs.
  • It is easy to deploy and maintain.
  • It can transfer data without any restrictions, i.e., any type of data can be sent from anyone to anyone.

Protocol Versions

Modbus has evolved over the years, bringing new and exciting features with every update. Some of its versions are:

Modbus RTU

It is used in serial communication. It is the most common implementation available for Modbus.

Modbus ASCII

It is used in serial communication and makes use of ASCII characters for data transfer and communication.

Modbus TCP

It is used for communication over TCP/IP networks.

Applications of Modbus in Industrial Networks

The main advantage that Modbus provides is the unique master-slave relationship among systems. This allows it to be used in various industries effectively. Some of them are:

Transport Traffic Behavior Detection

Traffic in its normal working is predictable because of the knowledge of the volume of vehicles and their speeds. But under certain circumstances, such as rainfall, snow, etc., this behavior is no longer predictable. In that case, we use Modbus to detect the traffic behavior. A cross-referencing between various normal traffic behaviors is done and the result is produced.

Modbus TCP is used in this application.

Automated Temperature Monitoring

Modbus is used by many systems to maintain the temperature of an entire building, and also to predict future optimal temperature values with respect to the outside temperature.

Easy Data Transfer

Modbus provides an easy way to transfer data over any other protocol; thus, it is used extensively in homes, small scale enterprises, etc.

Equipment that uses Modbus

With its benefits and open nature, Modbus provides a lot to many devices. It is used in monitoring hardware, network gateways, I/O interfaces, controllers, AC/DC drive controls and network host adapters, to name a few.

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