Industrial Ethernet is a technology that has allowed to improve the performance of the operations of different industries. Because of features such as high reliability or determinism, Industrial Ethernet is a good alternative to achieve automation and control of systems. However, its dependence on a physical cable represents some limitations for its use.
What is Industrial Ethernet?
Industrial Ethernet is a system of wires that connect industrial devices to a single network, allowing the devices to communicate with each other in a secure, reliable, efficient, and quick (from 10 Mbps to 1 Gbps) way. To do this, this technology uses industrial protocols as PROFINET®, POWERLINK®, EtherCAT®, etc., which assures determinism: that the correct manufacturing data is sent and received at a specific time, avoiding delays and disasters.
Limitations of Industrial Ethernet
Despite its advantages, Industrial Ethernet also has some drawbacks that may affect the quality of its operations. In the first place, there is a limitation on the distance between two nodes, so the length of the cable cannot be too long. If the distance is exceeded, the electrical signals are weakened as they travel. In addition, interferences from other equipment may decline the quality of the signals too, therefore, it is important to have a cable short enough that assures good communication among the devices without interference.
Second, the number of devices connected to a single-cable network is limited as well. The Industrial Ethernet protocol CSMA/CD controls the communication between nodes and allows only one device to transmit signals at a time. If the number of devices connected to one shared segment is too high, there will be “traffic” among the transmissions and the signal will have to wait a long time before it is delivered.
Migrating Into Wireless Connectivity
A solution to the limitations mentioned above is using eSIX’s edgeWares. Through this technology, it is possible to enable the protocol of Industrial Ethernet into wireless connectivity. Therefore, headquarters would be able to communicate with the branch devices using industrial language without the constraints of cables. By using a wireless network, companies can unleash the mobility of their machines, which will increase the productivity and lower the cost of maintenance.
edgeWares can also solve the second limitation that Industrial Ethernet has. By building a “tunnel” that encapsulates the data emitted by the devices, the information between nodes can be transferred in a smooth and uninterrupted way.
It is worth noting that the deterministic feature of Industrial Ethernet would remain working when using eSIX’s edgeWares, so latencies and delays are not a problem, and the operations can be performed as needed.
Industrial Ethernet has features that are key for the development of automated machinery and enhanced control of systems. However, the cables from this networking technology limit their capacities. This can be solved by using eSIX’s edgeWares, which transform Industrial Ethernet into wireless connectivity, enabling mobility of machinery, seamless communication between nodes, and determinism, as well as enhancing productivity and reducing costs.
Analog Devices. (n.d.). What Is the Difference Between Ethernet and Industrial Ethernet? Retrieved from https://www.analog.com/en/technical-articles/what-is-the-difference-between-ethernet-and-industrial-ethernet.html
Voss, W. (2019, July 2). Industrial Ethernet Guide - Limitations Of Ethernet. Copperhill Technologies. https://copperhilltech.com/blog/industrial-ethernet-guide-limitations-of-ethernet/