Controls, Energy + Environment

Building Automation System Connectivity Basics And Misconceptions

Building Automation System Connectivity Basics And Misconceptions


An interesting article by Trane lays out the basics of Building Automation System (BAS) communications and then addresses four common misconceptions. We should first define the protocols and mediums. Protocols are the language in which the building is speaking—BACnet® over MS/TP, BACnet over IP, Modbus, and LonTalk are some of the non-proprietary languages used today.

The medium refers to how the building will communicate—which way to transport the language or protocol? This essentially comes down to a wired (CAT 5/6, twisted pair) or wireless (Wi-Fi, Zigbee™) connection between controllers and sensors.

A major consideration is security for the system. Next, there are four common misconceptions:

  • Misconception #1 – MS/TP does not offer as many security advantages as other communications protocols.
  • Reality: Each communication protocol offers advantages.


  • Misconception #2: Smart buildings require IP at every level of infrastructure.
  • Reality: A smart building does not require IP at every level.


  • Misconception #3: Leveraging IT-managed networks for BAS provides efficiencies.  
  • Reality: In some cases, yes, but not all the time.


  • Misconception #4: You need to pick just one protocol.
  • Reality: It is a balanced approach. You can mix and match.

You can read the full article, here.


author avatar
David Shiller
David Shiller is the Publisher of LightNOW, and President of Lighting Solution Development, a North American consulting firm providing business development services to advanced lighting manufacturers. The ALA awarded David the Pillar of the Industry Award. David has co-chaired ALA’s Engineering Committee since 2010. David established MaxLite’s OEM component sales into a multi-million dollar division. He invented GU24 lamps while leading ENERGY STAR lighting programs for the US EPA. David has been published in leading lighting publications, including LD+A, enLIGHTenment Magazine, LEDs Magazine, and more.


Lightovation – Dallas Market Center
IALD Enlighten Europe
IES 24 – The Lighting Conference
ArchLIGHT Summit
American Lighting Association Annual Conference
Click For More


Colonial Electric – Inside Sales -Remote.