S4 Open: BACnet-N2 Router 1.30 Maintenance Release

Major Release 1.30 of the BACnet-N2 Router has been in the field for several months now and is showing good results. During our Q/A test process we try to emulate a real world technical environment and the ways that our integrator partners will use our products, but, there is no proving ground or test bed quite like the real world. Maintenance Releases are issued in between major releases to continuously improve products with urgently needed fixes or enhancements. Maintenance Release 1 is primarily addressing issues encountered by our early adopters of release 1.30.

Here is what will be in the M1 release:
• There was a problem with the Supervisory Controller as a BACnet Client feature; when an N2 transaction from a Metasys® supervisory controller that was parked in the Priority Array became active due to relinquishing the higher priority item, the new present value was not evaluated correctly. The parked N2 transaction did not evaluate properly. This issue is fixed.
• Clock drift fixed. This has been a long term known issue with systems hosted on our Advantech UNO 2059 GL platform but was deemed not critical because no partner had identified that any processes were dependent on the system time clock setting. That recently changed when a European project started using a new BAS where this became a critical item. We found and fixed a bug in the low lever driver for the system clock and resolved the issue.
• The COV Redundant notification option was removed from the user interface. We learned that the BACnet standard specifies that BACnet should always work like this.
• Support for Confirmed COV was added. In the initial release of 1.30, we had inadvertently included some developmental code that partially implemented Confirmed COV. The code to support the Confirmed COV service was completed and field tested.

The above items are critically important to several of our partners’ projects so we need to freeze the code and get this release out the door. Our plan is for it to be released to the reporting sites this week and a general release to follow as soon as we confirm proper operation at these field sites.

Work on Maintenance Release 2 will start immediately. Only mission-critical issues will be addressed in Maintenance releases against 1.30. All non-critical items will be deferred to releases 1.50 or 2.0.

• Q/A testing at S4 showed a deficiency in our Configure Wizard’s support for very old N2 devices. It incorrectly identified the application loaded in these devices and therefore assigned the incorrect template to the device. This will be addressed in M2.
• There is a problem reported with storing the incorrect value in the priority array for BO items when updating those entries after the initial entry is made. Evaluation of the Present Value is accurate. We have successfully reproduced this issue and it will be fixed in M2.
• There was a problem reported with timeout errors with JCI N2 controllers when an NCM is operational on the BACnet-N2 Router Upstream N2 Bus executing a GPL (JC Basic) program against the device which drives the bus to saturation. Work on this is continuing and will be resolved in M2.
• Intensive Q/A testing exposed deficiencies in the performance and reliability of Smart Data Point scripting. This will be resolved in M2.

Both major release 1.50 and 2.0 are just around the corner. Release 1.50 is a migration of the 1.30 firmware to a new operating system to improve system security, improve code portability, and provide new system services required for major enhancements planned for release 2.0.