Ethernet reaching every part of the industrial network

Many manufacturing companies are working to deploy Ethernet in every facet of the industrial network.

By Max Burkhalter
January 20, 2012
In industrial network setups, Ethernet has not been the protocol of choice when it comes to real-world deployment. This is because most automation and control systems require real-time data transmission that is so precise and latency-free that specialized solutions used to be necessary. However, Ethernet's rapid advance and evolution has made the technology more popular in industrial settings. Before long, the technology will have progressed to the point that it can be used for every aspect of the network, Design News reported.

This trend is already well on its way, according to the news source, as a growing number of manufacturing companies are integrating Ethernet in their control and automation setups and working to implement the technology over every aspect of their infrastructure. While the rate of networking change in the industrial network, the convergence of all design infrastructure to Ethernet is moving along at a steady pace, the report said.

This convergence means that control, design and automation groups are collaborating with IT workers to find ways to integrate Ethernet into more processes without risking performance issues. This is key, as it also involves converging different Ethernet standards into a unified platform that can maintain connectivity from the simplest devices through to the most complex industrial infrastructure, according to the news source.

Industry expert Ming Ng elaborated on this trend, telling the news source that a significant number of manufacturing organizations are endeavoring to make Ethernet work in motion and automation settings.

"This transition to Ethernet-based controls for applications leads us to this idea of a completely networked, plant-wide architecture. It's a situation where you have Ethernet at the field level, going all the way up to the management level and interfacing more closely with the business side of companies," NG told the news source.

Shifting toward Ethernet instead of specialized or legacy protocols is becoming common in a diverse range of settings. For example, a growing number of data center operators are considering a shift away from specialized storage network infrastructure. Instead of TCP/IP connectivity, the SAN would be converged with the data center's Ethernet setup, creating a more efficient and easier to manage architecture. This is especially common in facilities where storage and general server infrastructure is virtualized, as such machines create an increased need for bandwidth to support data transmission between devices and out to end users.

Perle’s serial to Ethernet converters connect serial based equipment across an Ethernet network. The Perle IOLAN range of Console Servers, Device Servers and Terminal Servers feature built-in support for IPv6 along with a broad range of authentication methods and encryption technologies.


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