Newsletter Issue # 17

Real Time Automation's - Best Darn Newsletter 

When Everything Goes to Heck
Fun Facts and Trivia

Get a free RTA notepad this month only!

Email your name and address to: jladd@rta- by April 30th to claim your steal of the month.

UA in Europe
Waste Water
OPC UA: Data Type vs. DataTypeDefinition
Will DF/1 Live Forever?
Goodbye 2013



Practical tips and information for young engineers. This issue, featuring:

- Random Tid-Bits


When Everything Goes to Heck

A Column of personal opinion by John Rinaldi, Founder and Owner of Real Time Automation.

I freely admit that I’ve made mistakes in my life. Not little hamster poop type mistakes - dinosaur poop mistakes!

I’ve made massive business mistakes. I’ve taken projects I should have walked away from - some of which cost me 6 figure kinds of money. I’ve passed on projects I should have done. I stupidly walked away from the job of a lifetime when I graduated from college – the opportunity to live in Europe and work on NATO software.

I feel worse about the personal relationships. I no longer have any relationship with my best friend from college. I’ve lost friendships with some really wonderful guys I knew in grade school. I’ve failed some people that were pretty important to me.

Alright, this isn’t a confessional and you’re not a Catholic priest. So, what’s the point?

The point is that this is life. You kind of have to crawl through the broken glass of your life on your hands and knees to get to someplace in life. It’s difficult but we all have to work through the mistakes, stupidities and personal failings that make us human.

It’s human to make mistakes. It’s human to fail.

Remember how you started out after college? If you were anything like I was, you were somewhat of a testosterone fueled, overly self-confident, arrogant guy. I had all this desire and energy and I wanted to quickly push all the old goats out of the way.

Life knows how to deal with people like us. It pours humility down our throats through our clenched teeth.

I bet each of you has a list similar to mine. Some of you, I’m sure, have a longer and more appalling list. I know that all the really successful friends of mine have that list – failed marriages, nasty business partners, bankruptcy; lawsuits, the list goes on and on.

But that’s life. You’re going to make mistakes and fail, and sometimes it won’t even be your fault. But what’s important is that you walk through that valley of fire and emerge scarred, battle tested and ready to get on with life. How do you do that? How do you find the resilience and the perseverance to get through not only the rainy days of your life, but the thunder storms and the hurricanes?

For some people it’s God. They believe that these trials are tests of their faith. They believe they can conquer it through prayer and divinity. I can accept that, but also believe that God thinks that you need to do your part; get up off the couch and get to work.

Years ago I had this guy John who worked for me. Very experienced. Very talented. John came to us when his old company died due to some accounting issues. John accepted the job but never was happy with his salary. John liked to complain how his wife had to work long hours, how he couldn’t afford any nice vacations and that he wasn’t saving anything for retirement.

So one day I asked him where he went every night at precisely 4:30 when he bolted out of the office like his butt was on fire. I wondered if he was studying some new programming techniques, learning a new technology or reading scripture to improve his spiritual life. Nope, none of that, he replied. He said he generally just sat in the recliner with the cat all night.

None of the people that handle adversity, that walk through that valley of fire and survive, get through it by sitting in the recliner waiting for success to break down their door and drag them into the street. Every single one of them takes action every day to improve their lives and the lives of the people around them. I’ve got sixteen irons in my fire, everything from OPC UA to a couple of new books to personal skills like Italian and Scuba Diving.

What I know is that we all are going to experience disappointments, failures and tragedies. The challenge of life is not how you handle on the bright, warm summer days when the sun is shining and the road is clear. It’s how you meet the challenge of the stormy days and you hit the huge pot holes in your road. It’s those stormy days that determine the quality of your life.

- John


 PS – If you have a “walking through the valley of fire story,” I’d like to hear it. Send it to jrinaldi at



Trivia Challenge

· The official colors of Mardi Gras, purple, gold and green each have meanings. What does each stand for?

· "Mardi Gras" is a French term which means "Fat Tuesday." What is another formal name for this celebration?

· "King Cake" is a type of cake traditionally associated with Mardi Gras. What unusual object can be found in a King Cake?

· Beads and other items, known as "throws," tossed by members of krewes on Mardi Gras parade floats are a symbol of what?

· By law, riders on parade floats in New Orleans are required to wear what item?



Answers located on bottom of page.



I never watch the previews when I watch movies at home. In fact, I hate the previews. I find them really frustrating because they are always so enticing. I know I’ll never see that movie because as soon as this movie starts I’ll forget the name of the one in the preview. Why get excited about a movie I know I’m never going to see?

I kind of feel that way about IPv6. I’ve been watching the preview now for years. Nothing ever seems to happen. ODVA and PROFIBUS & PROFINET International are pretty quiet about it. ODVA supposedly has some sort of plan they’re rolling out at some point. They’ll probably talk about that at the annual meeting in March on that mountain top in Arizona.

IPv6 is a pretty serious standard in the Internet world. And now, since Automation is so closely tied to IT, that means that v6 is going to get real important to us at some point. So, I thought it might be time to revisit the v6 movie; review the concept, assess the benefits and provide some fresh insights into the future of it for us in Automation.

So, let’s start the way every v6 article is required to start; with the dire warnings about the shortages of IPv4 addresses. Let’s all hold hands and shout together: “The last block of v4 addresses has been allocated.”

Yes, that’s true but let’s be a bit, if not skeptical, thoughtful, about that last block of v4 addresses. First, only something like 14% of the assigned addresses have been used. Second, an awful lot of v4 addresses are used in local domains. There is no shortage of v4 addresses in local domains. If there was, I would advise you to go long on v4 addresses and wait for them to go up when the shortage hits. That’s about as good, as investment advice goes, as telling you to buy Bitcoins.

So, the folks in charge of the Internet (how do I get that job?) built a completely new way of addressing IP devices. And while doing it, they fixed (?) a bunch of things that people didn’t like about the old IP addresses:

1. Built a Larger Address Space
The length of an IP address in IPv6 is 128 bits. That’s four times the size of the IPv4 address making for a total of 3.4×1038 addresses. That’s about 5x1028 addresses for every single person on the planet. The IPv6 address is represented as eight groups of four hexadecimal digits separated by colons; 2001:0dc9:85a3:0043:0000:8a3e:0407:2374, for example. There is a lot of short hand for that notation. Visit to learn more.

2. Built-In Network Security
Everybody is talking endlessly about security so it’s natural that they would build security right into IPv6. They’ve included an Internet Protocol Security framework called IPSec. IPSec uses cryptographic security to provide things like network-level data integrity, data confidentiality, authentication, replay protection, origin authentication and more.

3. Eliminated Broadcast Packets
IPv4 had a standard way for one device to send a packet that had to be read by all devices on the network. Disinterested hosts, hosts not wanting to read the broadcast message, still had to read any and all broadcast messages. Thankfully, support for that was removed in IPv6.

4. Implemented Directed Data Flows
Instead of broadcast packets, IPv6 supports multicast operation. Multicast allows bandwidth-intensive data flows (like multimedia streams) to be sent to some number of destinations simultaneously.

5. Increased Packet Processing Efficiency
A lot of work was put into router efficiency. IPv6 drops the IP checksum, reduces the size of the routing tables and simplifies routing. 

6. Simplified Address Assignment
Tired of individually configuring IP addresses for every device in your network? Well, it gets a lot easier in IPv6. In v6 a router broadcasts its 64-bit link-local prefix. A Link-local address is an address with a ten-bit prefix of 0xfe80 followed by 54 zero bits. A router never forwards any link-local address out of its domain.  A device, like a drive, that wants to automatically generate an IP address can simply extend its MAC address from 48 to 64 bits and prefixes it with the 64-bit link-local address to create a unique IP address. In IPv6 a router periodically sends out a router advertisement which among other things advertises its link-local address.

7. Eliminated NAT Tables
The old NAT (Network Address Translation) tables are eliminated in IPv6. NAT tables map addresses inside a router. NATs map outside global internet addresses to local addresses inside a domain in a number of ways. A company could use, for example, a single global IP Address and map that to one or more than one local addresses.

The big nasty issue with IPv6 is the fact that IPv4 and IPv6 are not interoperable. The single greatest failure of IPv6 is its lack of backwards compatibility with v4, but that horse has left the barn. All we can do now is manage the transition. There’s three ways to do that:

1. A dual stack running both IPv4 and IPv6 simultaneously.

2. A “tunnel” where packets for one are put inside the other.

3. A Network Translation device that converts packets of one into the other.

None of these are perfect solutions. In fact, all of them are going to give you headaches. When we are going to be forced to address this and deal with this mess is unclear, but there are some things that I think are clear:

1. The Chinese and US governments have decided that IPv6 is a good standard, so it’s going to be written into a lot of specs. If you build devices, you are going to run into an application where you have to satisfy that checkbox.

2. For most device vendors this isn’t going to be much of a problem. You’ll have to get an updated TCP/IP stack that supports IPv6 and change the way the user enters the IP Address.

3. If you integrate devices and build systems, this is going to be an additional headache. You’ll need to change how you design and implement systems. It’s very likely that you’ll have some devices that will only be IPv4 and some that will only be IPv6.

4. If you have deployed EtherNet/IP or Profinet IO you are going to need a stack update to support v6.

Moving from v4 to v6 isn’t going to be trivial. This isn’t like having too many drinks at the Bellagio in Vegas and running over to the Elvis Chapel and getting married. You’re going to need a strategy, some tools and a plan to get from an IPv4 environment to a joint IPv4 / IPv6 one, followed by a plan for all IPv6 operation.

Note: A longer, more complete article on this topic is posted on Machine Design Magazine’s web site at:



Fun Facts

·The upside-down ketchup bottle earned its inventor 13 million dollars.

·If humans were able to hear sounds at a frequency lower than 20Hz, we'd be able to hear our muscles moving.

·A "butt" was a Medieval unit of measure for wine. Technically, a buttload of wine is about 475 liters, or 126 gallons.

·Most American car horns honk in the key of F.

·About half of the bones in your body are in your hands and feet.



  Trivia Answers: Purple is for justice, gold is for power, and green is for faith; Shrove Tuesday; A small plastic baby; Good luck or fortune; A mask
  RTA Website