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Industrial Ethernet Guide - The Challenges for Industrial Ethernet

Posted by Wilfried Voss on

A Comprehensible Guide to Industrial Ethernet by Wilfried Voss

The following is part of  A Comprehensible Guide to Industrial Ethernet by Wilfried Voss.

While Ethernet TCP/IP is a well-established and well-known networking technology, Industrial Ethernet, for various reasons, is still widely regarded as an unknown entity. 

This statement may appear contradictory to the fact that most of the available protocols already exist for several years (e.g., Modbus/TCP was introduced in 1999), but the challenges that potential users in the industry see are primarily management and cost considerations. 

These challenges are:

  • Selecting the Appropriate Technology for the Application
  • Integration of Options and Solutions
  • The Costs Attached to the Technology
  • Licensing Terms and Conditions
  • Technology Training at all Levels in the Organization
  • Development Training
  • Testing and Interoperability Issues
  • Justification of Technology Change

The significant technological challenges that the various Industrial Ethernet technologies promise to address in one way or the other are the real-time-control capabilities.

The standard Ethernet TCP/IP communication is non-deterministic due to unpredictable cycle and response times caused by the CSMA/CD (Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection) protocol layer and the jitter inflicted by the UDP and IP protocols (See also chapter Ethernet TCP/IP and Real-Time Performance).

The critical economic challenges lie in the increased costs for industrial-strength hardware components and the efforts for project planning and implementation. The design of an Industrial Ethernet project requires extensive knowledge of the technology, and the learning curve for newcomers is steep.


EtherNet/IP: The Everyman’s Guide to The Most Widely Used Manufacturing Protocol

EtherNet/IP: The Everyman’s Guide to The Most Widely Used Manufacturing Protocol

EtherNet/IP came roaring into the 21st century on the backs of DeviceNet and ControlNet, claiming world domination (almost) as the most widely used protocol in manufacturing. 

While it’s pervasive, EtherNet/IP isn’t necessarily standard knowledge to everyone on the factory floor. Admit it; maybe you find yourself losing sleep over questions such as

  • Is EtherNet/IP an IoT transport protocol?
  • Are EDS files important for an EtherNet/IP adapter device?
  • Which is better: EtherNet/IP or PROFINET IO?
  • Isn’t EtherNet/IP just CIP over an Ethernet connection?
  • How many ways are there to organize device data into a CIP Object Model?
  • What is the Assembly Object Class?
  • Can the EtherNet/IP encapsulation to encapsulate other automation protocols?
  • Does it matter which TCP/IP stack we use to build an EtherNet/IP device?
  • Is DeviceNet obsolete or complementary to EtherNet/IP? How important is the compliance test process?
  • Is CoCO good for an EtherNet/IP scanner device, or delicious with marshmallows?

Toss and turn no more! With this handy guide on your bedside table, you’ll be able to navigate the world of EtherNet/IP and, who knows, maybe entertain a companion with exciting tidbits. Dip into any chapter, in any order, and you’ll find plenty of clear explanations, with tables and diagrams, to guide you through EtherNet/IP.

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