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State of the LXI Security Working Group

By Jochen Wolle, TSEP

The LXI standard provides a consistent, industry-wide method for communicating with LAN based instruments.  To meet the ever-increasing demand for security, the LXI Consortium has chartered a Security Working Group tasked with developing an LXI Security Extended Function specification. This article provides a summary of the current state of the LXI Security Working Group discussions and proposals.

Primary goals for security within industrial networks are following the key principles Confidentiality, Integrity and Authenticity. Confidentiality ensures that data transported in the network cannot be read by anyone but the intended recipient. Integrity means any message received is confirmed to be exactly the message that was sent and finally Authenticity ensures that a message that claims to be from a given source is, in fact, from that source.

To ensure secure communication between test computers and LXI instruments encryption is required. The extensions to the standard will support authenticated/encrypted communication to T&M instruments and will also address security for LXI instrument hosted webpages, confirming device authenticity and providing secure communication.


HiSLIP 2.0
Paving the Way Towards
Secure VISA Connections

Fabian Güttge, Rohde & Schwarz

As the overall awareness for security has risen, the LXI Consortium has picked up this topic and is working on an LXI Security Extended Feature.

The intent being a general security concept for Test & Measurement devices in a network, it makes sense to broaden the view beyond the scope of LXI focusing on https to connections for remote control. Hence, the IVI Foundation decided to make the HiSLIP protocol ready for security. This article provides a summary of the status of the IVI HiSLIP 2.0 working group discussions.

The HiSLIP protocol is well suited for remote control of devices. It is fast, reliable and supports useful features like service requests and locking. However, it lacks security features, which are required in sensitive environments: connections are unencrypted, and there is no client or device authentication. The goal of HiSLIP 2.0 is to extend the HiSLIP protocol by adding security features, such that secure transport does not rely on virtual private networks (VPNs).


The LXI Consortium Integrates GlobalSign’s PKI-based IoT Device Identity Platform as an Integral Part
of its Security Protocol  


Standards-based organizations like the LXI Consortium operate with a higher degree of excellence than stand-alone businesses, especially when it comes to developing, promoting and adhering to security protocols. When the LXI security working group reached out to GlobalSign to explore security choices, we knew we’d have to bring our best game forward to identify the challenge, collaborate to supply the best technology options, and deliver a security solution that was easily adopted by LXI Consortium members, all while properly securing the equipment according to best security standards. It was a tall order in the precise field of test, measurement and data acquisition industry.

“As a standards organization, selecting the right security solution was critical in maintaining our ongoing reputation of excellence and reliability,” said Steve Schink, Keysight Technologies, Chair of the Board for the LXI Consortium. “GlobalSign worked closely with our security working group to identify our challenges, propose solutions, and then implement our vision in a way that works for, and protects, our membership.”


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New LXI Products

The LXI Consortium has certified more than 4054 instruments in over 342 product families since the specifications were first released in September 2005. Some of the recent LXI product introductions are highlighted below:

Kikusui PCR-WE/WE2 Series
PCR-WE/WE2 Series is a PWM inverter type compact high performance AC power supply. It has 15 lineup from 1kVA to 36kVA. The 6kVA model consists of a 6kVA power unit in 4U height. Single-phase output/Single-phase 3-wire output/3-phase output is selectable for 3kVA and higher power models (PCR-WE2). PCR-WE2R model with three-phase 200V input has regenerative function.

TSEP Kerberos
TSEP Kerberos is a hardware and software solution to verify the LXI functionality of test and measurement devices. TSEP Kerberos combines all the necessary components and hardware elements to perform a LXI Conformance Test. TSEP Kerberos can also be used to validate existing compliant products (regression tests) in addition to the conformance test.

Tektronix 5 Series MSO Mixed Signal Oscilloscope
With a remarkably innovative pinch-swipe-zoom touchscreen user interface, the industry's largest high-definition display, and 4, 6, or 8 FlexChannel™ inputs that let you measure one analog or eight digital signals, the 5 Series MSO is ready for today’s toughest challenges, and tomorrow’s too.

Pickering’s New 6-slot USB/LXI modular chassis – model 60-106
This 6-slot modular USB/LXI chassis occupies only a small, 1U rack-height form factor, making it suitable for portable and space-restricted rack-mount applications. The chassis accepts from one to six Pickering PXI 3U modules; the user can choose from over 1000 module types including programmable resistors, matrices, multiplexers, general purpose relays, RF switches and fault insertion units.

Keysight 34970A data acquisition / data logger switch 
The 34970A consists of a three-slot mainframe with a built-in 6 1/2 digit digital multimeter. Each channel can be configured independently to measure one of 11 different functions without the added cost or hassles of signal-conditioning accessories. Choose from eight optional plug-in modules to create a compact data logger, full-featured data acquisition system or low-cost switching unit. 

AMETEK Programmable Power/VTI Instruments 
The EX1401 delivers accuracies of ±0.20°C, 1000 V channel-channel isolation, built-in self-test capabilities, and independent 24-bit ADC’s per channel. Its ability to acquire data at 20K samples/second/channel allows its usage in high-speed temperature transient applications.

Textron Systems RFS340
High-Performance RF/Microwave source & vector signal generator
Textron Systems’ RF Synthesizers provide an unmatched combination of frequency coverage, power range, signal fidelity and switching speed in either a 2-slot VXI or 1U LXI® (Ethernet) format.

Kikusui Electronics PWR Series DC Power Supplies
The PWR-01 is a series of high performance, multifunctional, compact, wide-range DC power supplies. It consists of 12 models in total with 4 maximum voltage outputs (L, ML, MH, and H) and 3 maximum power outputs (400 W, 800 W, and 1200 W).


Thanks to all our readers.
Bob Helsel, Editor

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