I worked on a proposal recently that I thought had some interesting aspects to discuss.
First, the device to be tested communicates over Ethernet, but all of the units have the same IP address. My customer wants to be able to test multiple units in a batch. One of the questions asked was how can we have one PC connected to multiple units all with the same IP address?
I spoke with someone at National Instruments about this, and I was directed to this forum topic. This solution requires that each unit has its own router. Then, all of the routers are connected to the hub. The individual routers will have unique IP addresses relative to the hub. I thought that was actually a good (and relatively cheap) solution. However, the hope was that the batch is at least 5 and hopefully more than 10. This doesn't seem like a very good solution if I needed 10+ routers.
My thought was perhaps there was a way to individually switch each unit to the computer. Googling this actually fairly difficult because searching for "ethernet switch" doesn't get the kind of switch one normally uses in test systems. Finally, I learned that "air gap" was a useful term to add, which finally lead me to a company called Market Central.
Their Switchmaster R6100 line looks like it does exactly what I need where I can individually connect one of my units to my PC. Their 16x1 switch only cost $1100, which I think is reasonable given the programmability.
Alas, my customer decided that they would rather do nothing, so I can't tell you how well it works. Hopefully at least, someone else that has this problem can spend less time on Google trying to look for this kind of unit.
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