Preparing for Hardware Interlock

Role: Core Adminstrator

iLab Solutions provides a way to manage equipment remotely, via a kiosk interface. This is done using network enabled devices that can control either a set of standard 110V outlets or a set of dry electric switches. The ability for users to log into the kiosk interface to use equipment is governed by rules and policies that you configure in iLab for resources you wish to control via an interlock device. Some examples of configuration are whether or not a user is trained on the resource, has scheduled time or somebody else is already using the resource.  To control access to the resource the iLab software communicates with these devices in three ways: turning a channel on, turning a channel off, or checking the status of a particular channel.

Once you have received and installed the required devices refer to Setting Up Hardware Interlock.


    Supported Interlock Devices

    iLab supports two types of network-enabled interlock devices: Synaccess, within the United States, and ControlByWeb, outside the United States.  The iLab software interface communicates with these devices in three ways: turning a channel on, turning a channel off, or checking the status of a particular channel.

    Synaccess series (Recommended within the U.S.): The Synaccess series of devices provides the simplicity of controlling a number (2,10 or 16) regular 110V outlets that can be hooked up with different hardware aspects of the equipment in question, such as a computer monitor. iLab currently supports the following Synaccess devices:

    They include a simple browser based configuration utility, which makes them very easy for IT to setup and configure securely.  

    The configuration can be as simple as connecting the device to the network and power, plugging in the device to be controlled and setting the username and password along with the static IP address for that device.

    ControlByWeb (Recommended for outside of the U.S.): ControlByWeb is a versatile device that offers both dry contact and standard AC power supply outputs. iLab supports the following ControlByWeb devices:

    For ControlByWeb devices, have a feature where they can automatically turn on in the event of a Bridge or network failure. This default to on feature loses the tracking capability during an outage but at least researchers can continue to work and to track usage manually.


    On-Site Requirements

    Personnel Requirements

    An IT team on-site will need to create a secure local network to which the iLab bridge and any of the interlock devices will be connected. Each device on the network will require a static IP. The subnet does not need to be visible from the outside - the iLab bridge needs only to be able to connect to the iLab server via an SSH connection.

    A lab technician on-site will need to determine from the lab setup how many devices are needed and their placement. It is key that the lab technician knows the lab very well to ensure the correct devices are purchased and placed correctly in the lab. 

    Network Requirements

    Interlock is designed for minimum impact on your campus network infrastructure at the institution that is using interlock devices. 


    iLab Bridge

    Once an agreement is in place, the iLab engineering team will configure and send you an iLab bridge. Your interlock devices will be connected to this bridge, and will require a static IP. The bridge will then initiate a secure local connection to our iLab servers from within your organization. The bridge and the subnet do not need to be visible to the outside - they only need to be able to SSH out to the iLab server.

    There are two possible scenarios for how your devices will connect to the VLAN/subnet:

    1. Multiple devices on subnet
    2. Multiple devices on multiple subnets

    Diagram 1: All devices on one subnet/VLAN

    Diagram 2: Multiple devices on multiple subnets 


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