Managing comprehensively designed remote maintenance solutions for use on machines and facilities is often challenging and time-consuming. One challenge involves establishing a targeted and secured functional connection to the available IT systems, especially when dealing with globally networked facilities. u-link, the web-based remote maintenance solution from Weidmüller, simplifies the remote maintenance process and enables production facilities as well as user clients to be managed efficiently. u-link’s intuitive interface can be easily configured and quickly customised to meet specific design requirements of the particular facility. In addition to a Cloud service running on secure, high-availability servers in Germany, u-link also provides an online platform with secure containers, i.e. data is protected from access by third parties.
Weidmüller offers a variety of licence models for u-link software solutions: the Entry version, the Standard 150, the Standard 300, the Standard 500 and the Standard unlimited. All the versions of the u-link remote access service use the Weidmuller web-based portal application to give service PCs simple and secure access to Ethernet devices in a remote network. The Weidmüller portal service (VPN server) and a Weidmüller industrial security router in the target network enable VPN-supported remote access through a service PC. The u-link VPN server acts as a central meeting point (rendezvous server) during this process, connecting a service PC (VPN client) to a router in the target network so as to reach the Ethernet devices that are connected to the router. Thanks to the central VPN meeting point, a VPN connection can always be initiated as outgoing communication from both the remote access side (service PC) and the router side.
Every u-link customer account uses separate database and server instances, so clients are securely separated. Data communication between the u-link VPN server and remote clients (service PCs and routers) takes place via a certificate-protected OpenVPN connection (RSA 2048 data encryption, x509 certificates).
Weidmüller u-link remote access service options:
The Entry Version: This can be used free of charge and its runtime is not restricted. The number of router objects (access points to a remote network) is limited to 50 max. There is no restriction in the number of service users. Two VPN transit connections (where service PCs can access a router / network via the u-link VPN server) can be used at the same time. For each channel, the Entry version provides a non-guaranteed bandwidth of max. 500 Kbps <= 1 GB/month, max. 64 Kbps > 1 GB/month per VPN channel.
The Standard 150 Version: Up to 150 router objects can be configured. A maximum of three VPN connections can be used at the same time; additional VPN channels can be booked as an option. Users can realistically map the device topology in a clearly organisable tree structure. Service users can be organised in groups and allocation of access rights can be precisely coordinated to the device topology. In addition, there is advanced reporting and statistical information provison. 1 Mbps per VPN channel is provided as the guaranteed bandwidth – with a monthly volume of up to 5 GB; the guaranteed bandwidth for data volumes > 12 GB/month is max. 500 Kbps. Additional VPN channels, each with 1 GB/month and a bandwidth of 1 Mbit/sec, can be booked as an option.
Users and administrators can easily upgrade from the free Entry version to a u-link Standard version. A client account that has already been created is upgraded by entering a paid user licence code in the u-link portal. The licence code is valid for one year. If users enter another valid licence key before their Standard licence expires, the remaining runtime is automatically extended by a year.
The same applies for the “additionally usable VPN connections” option. If a Standard version is being used, additional VPN transit connections can be added in addition to the three VPN connections that can be used at the same time. The u-link client administrator can enter a licence key for a runtime of one year. Alternatively, a VPN licence key can also be used to extend a VPN transit connection that has already been additionally booked by one year.