“For what purposes are SoftPLC's 32 communications channels used?”

You can think of these channels as being equivalent to the ports on the front of a traditional PLC. They provide access to SoftPLC's data table for application software programs that perform operator interface, data acquisition, etc.

The channels are also used by TOPDOC to monitor, change, and upload/download the program logic and data table.

SoftPLC systems can also communicate peer-to-peer to each other or to Allen-Bradley PLC's over a channel, via a messaging facility.