Assessing The Integrity Of Field Devices In Modbus Networks

  • Ryan Shayto
  • Brian Porter
  • Rodrigo Chandia
  • Mauricio Papa
  • Sujeet Shenoi
Conference paper
Part of the The International Federation for Information Processing book series (IFIPAICT, volume 290)

Pipeline control systems often incorporate thousands of widely dispersed sensors and actuators, many of them in remote locations. Information about the operational aspects (functionality) and integrity (state) of these field devices is critical because they perform vital measurement and control functions.

This paper describes a distributed scanner for remotely verifying the functionality and state of field devices in Modbus networks. The scanner is designed for the Modbus protocol and, therefore, accommodates the delicate TCP/IP stacks of field devices. Furthermore, field device scanning and data storage and retrieval operations are scheduled so as not to impact normal pipeline control operations. Experimental results and simulations demonstrate that the distributed scanner is scalable, distributable and operates satisfactorily in low bandwidth networks.


Modbus networks distributed scanner field devices integrity 


  1. 1.
    Allen-Bradley, Logix5000 Controllers Common Procedures Programming Manual, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 2004.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Automation Direct, D2-DCM Data Communications Module User Manual (, 2003.
  3. 3.
    Automation Direct, DL205 User Manual (Volumes 1 and 2) (, 2003.
  4. 4.
    J. Gonzalez, Security Strategies for Process Control Networks, Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Computer Science, University of Tulsa, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 2006.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    J. Gonzalez and M. Papa, Passive scanning in Modbus networks, in Critical Infrastructure Protection, E. Goetz and S. Shenoi (Eds.), Springer, Boston, Massachusetts, pp. 175–187, 2007.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Modbus IDA, Modbus Application Protocol Specification v1.1a, North Grafton, Massachusetts (, 2004.
  7. 7.
    Modbus IDA, Modbus Messaging on TCP/IP Implementation Guide v1.0a, North Grafton, Massachusetts (, 2004.
  8. 8., Modbus over Serial Line Specification and Implementation Guide v1.0, North Grafton, Massachusetts (, 2002.
  9. 9.
    ProSoft Technology, MVI56-MNET ControlLogix Platform Modbus TCP/ IP Interface Module User Manual ( /download/2801/26796/file/mvi56_mnet_user_manual1.pdf), 2007.
  10. 10.
    R. Shayto, Industry-Scale Distributed Scanners for Modbus Networks, Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Computer Science, University of Tulsa, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 2007.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    VMWare, VMWare Server Virtual Machine Guide ( /server_vm_manual.pdf), 2007.
  12. 12.
    D. Wimberger, Jamod - Java Modbus Implementation (, 2004.
  13. 13.
    M. Zec, Implementing a clonable network stack in the FreeBSD Kernel, Proceedings of the 2003 USENIX Annual Technical Conference, pp. 137–150, 2003.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ryan Shayto
  • Brian Porter
  • Rodrigo Chandia
  • Mauricio Papa
  • Sujeet Shenoi

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations