EtherNet/IP & DeviceNet Network Updates

  • April 14, 2014
  • Feature

Technology & Organizational Updates from the 2014 ODVA Annual Meeting

By Bill Lydon, Editor

The ODVA 2014 Industry Conference & 16th Annual Meeting of Members was held on March 11-13, 2014, in Phoenix, Arizona. More than 145 professionals attended the event: 30% from Europe, 60% from North America, and 10% from Asia. The event featured technical presentations, marketing viewpoints, sessions, and presentations on technology and industry topics.

Katherine Voss, ODVA President & Executive Director, commented that the organization has geographically broadened over the years with operations in Europe, China, Korea, Japan, and other parts of Asia. The breakdown of ODVA membership is now 48% from USA & Canada, 28% from Europe (16% from Germany), 14% from Japan, and 10% from Asia. ODVA diversity is illustrated by directors from Weidmüller Interface, Schneider Electric, Rockwell Automation, Cisco Systems, Bosch Rexroth, Endress+Hauser, and Omron. In addition, the Technical Review Board (TRB) is made up of people from Eaton, Schneider Electric, Cisco, Endress+Hauser, Omron, Bosch Rexroth, Molex, Rockwell Automation, and HMS Industrial Networks.

ODVA is the industry organization that manages the media independent network protocol called the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP) and its network adaptations of EtherNet/IP, DeviceNet, CompoNet and ControlNet. ODVA’s mission is to advance open, interoperable information and communication technologies in industrial automation.

DeviceNet of Things

On April 7, 2014, at the Hannover Messe, ODVA formally announced the DeviceNet of Things Special Interest Group (SIG). The goal of the SIG is to extend DeviceNet to more types of devices and provide seamless connectivity with EtherNet/IP leveraging the ODVA Common Industrial Protocol (CIP).  Katherine Voss recognizes the reality that IP-based Ethernet communication is still cumbersome for the majority of industrial applications. “The Internet of Things movement has established a basis for innovation of new smart 'things' in the automation world, but the cost of Ethernet is still too high for many industrial 'things,' or devices,” said Voss.

I believe the creation of this SIG is an astute recognition that industrial Ethernet adoption is growing, but fieldbus is the major network of choice for industrial applications. IHS reported in 2012 that there were 131.4 million industrial connected nodes with 27% utilizing industrial Ethernet. The majority of connected nodes, 73%, were traditional industrial fieldbus networks. Tom Moore of IHS Research said in a recent interview, “Initial estimates are putting Ethernet as becoming the more dominant technology (more than 50% total market share) in around 15 years, however, it’s quite feasible that this could be closer to 20 years.” More information: Industrial Ethernet Growing but Fieldbus Remains Dominant.

ODVA members participating in the SIG include Eaton Electrical, HMS Industrial Networks, Omron, Panduit, Rockwell Automation, and Weidmüller Interface. To achieve its business objectives to lower connectivity cost for simple, less expensive devices and to promote ease of use for network installation and commissioning, the initial phase of the SIG’s work will focus on development of the following:

  • IP20-rated physical layer connection system that reduces device connection cost and installation time.
  • Auto-addressing scheme that eliminates the need to set node addresses.
  • Visibility into DeviceNet devices that have not had the ability to provide diagnostics.

A future phase of work will focus on enhancements for an IP67-rated physical layer connection system. In 2015, ODVA expects the DeviceNet Specification to include enhancements from the first phase of work, with products following shortly after publication of the enhancements within the specification.

Machinery Initiative

In 2013, ODVA announced the Machinery Initiative SIG and phase 1 work on Machine-to-Supervisory Communications is progressing.  SIG member companies include Bosch Rexroth, Cisco, Omron, Rockwell Automation, and Schneider Electric, along with invited experts Tom Burke of the OPC Foundation and Peter Lutz of Sercos International. EtherNet/IP, Sercos, and OPC UA can exist on the same network to meet the requirements for machines, including machine-to-machine communications. The major focus of the SIG is the development of data models for logical grouping of machine attributes along with services necessary for exchange of the data between machines and other machines or supervisory systems. Communication is intended between heterogeneous systems using the CIP (Common Industrial Protocol) based EtherNet/IP, Sercos III and/or OPC UA. The ODVA has noted that, whenever possible, the approach will be to adopt protocol-neutral data models, which can be adapted to any of the three technologies.

Process Initiative

Katherine Voss opened the session about the Process Initiative noting that it is based on the ODVA board of directors' goal to expand CIP technologies beyond discrete and hybrid industries into general process applications. Voss described the challenge that historically, ODVA members primarily represented the discrete industry, but this is changing with an interest in converging discrete and process systems. ODVA trademarked the acronym OPI, which stands for Optimization of Process Integration. The ODVA initiative for process automation is in cooperation with suppliers including Cisco Systems, Endress+Hauser, Rockwell Automation and Schneider Electric to further accelerate adoption of industrial Ethernet in process automation.

The goal is to promote ODVA’s industrial EtherNet/IP technology for connectivity down to the field level and, over time, include the full spectrum of process automation needs, including safety, explosion protection, long distances and extensive diagnostic coverage. A fundamental part of the vision is to simplify the exchange of configuration, diagnostic, and production data between field devices and higher-level systems, such as supervisory control, data acquisition systems, and plant asset management (PAM) systems.

Olivier Wolff of Endress+Hauser Process Solutions AG made a presentation recommending EtherNet/IP adopt the NAMUR NE107 standard for reporting diagnostic information. NE107 is a worldwide status reporting standard currently incorporated into Foundation Fieldbus, HART, and Profibus. NAMUR is an international association of process automation industry end users and represents approximately 15,000 process control experts, of whom approximately 300 are active in 33 working groups. Member companies include Novartis, BASF, Bayer, Evonik, Shell and Clariant.

Wolff recommended further technical investigations are needed to incorporate NE107 into the CIP specifications since it is needed for EtherNet/IP to meet this process industry requirement.

Since ODVA has very few process instrument manufacturers as members, a major task for the Process Initiative is convincing manufacturers to incorporated EtherNet/IP protocol interfaces into device designs.

ODVA expects to announce the formation of a SIG (Special Interest Group) for process applications in 2014.

ODVA has a free white paper “Optimization of Process Integration.”

Energy Initiative

The Energy Initiative Special Interest Group (SIG) has been working on completing the definition of a CIP energy management object. At the conference, there was a live multi-vendor interoperability demonstration of the base energy object and the electrical energy object in action. This object defines multiple curtailment levels that allow devices to reduce energy consumption while continuing operation at altered production rates. The energy management object can act as a proxy to provide the energy management object interface for one or more simple devices that do not possess the capabilities to implement power curtailment levels. A device that supports the energy management object may also support other energy-related CIP objects. An energy management client can reduce power consumption by commanding one or more instances of the energy management object to a curtailment level. Several options are available for providing versatility and for managing the content of an energy management object instance’s curtailment levels.

ODVA has a free document on Optimization of Energy Usage.

Wireless Networking - CIP over 6LoWPAN Concept Paper

Paul Brooks, Business Development Manager at Rockwell Automation, gave a presentation describing a technology investigation by Rockwell Automation that resulted in a concept prototype to illustrate bridging standard CIP protocol to 6LoWPAN wireless. Created by IETF, 6LoWPAN is an acronym for IPv6 over Low power Wireless Personal Area Networks. The Internet Engineering Task Force ( is a large open international community that promotes Internet standards, cooperating closely with the W3C and ISO/IEC standard bodies and dealing in particular with standards of the TCP/IP and Internet protocol suite. The charter of the IETF 6LoWPAN working group was to define how to carry IP-based communication over IEEE 802.15.4 links while conforming to open standards and assuring interoperability with other IP devices. 6LoWPAN is used in WirelessHART, ISA100, WIA-PA, and ZigBee products.

In my opinion, the major issue in bridging EtherNet/IP and 6LoWPAN is that it requires a significant interface to map and transpose information, which means the interface is a gateway or proxy. The pursuit of this approach would create another automation industry 802.15.4 wireless protocol in addition to WirelessHART, ISA100, and WIA-PA. It is worth noting that the WirelessHART organization has created a discrete standard.

The presentation by Brooks was outlined the technical concept, but at this time ODVA does not have a defined project to pursue this bridge.

More Information:

IPv6 Migration Concepts

To my knowledge, ODVA is the first industrial network standards group that is setting out a plan for addressing the transition to IPv6. ODVA’s target is to incorporate IPv6 changes into CIP specifications by 2015. At the conference, a technical presentation was made describing concepts for migrating industrial IPv4 networks to IPv6. Cisco, the IPSO Alliance, and others have been vocal about the adoption of IPv6 being fundamental to the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). IPv6 offers more advantages than just scalability; including security, improved multicasting, mobility and address abstraction.

The technical paper presented a three-staged approach:

Stage 1 – Migrating IPv4-Only Network to Dual-Stack Network, Estimated time 2-3 years

Instead of transforming the entire enterprise and control network to IPv6 or dual-stack (nodes are both IPv4 and IPv6 enabled) in one single motion, it is better to divide the process into phases. For example, a customer can upgrade the enterprise IT network and DMZ to dual-stack first, then the supervisory network, then migrate the control system network to dual-stack as the final step. The remote facility or field network can be migrated after the main site is upgraded. The objectives of stage 1 are:

  1. Build intelligent network that supports both IPv4 and IPv6 endpoints.
  2. Preserve existing network topology and protect existing network investment.
  3. Separate network migration completely from IPv6 upgrade on endpoints.

However, wireless field network may need to be migrated to IPv6 first since industrial plants and applications are already using IPv6-capable wireless devices, including WirelessHART and ISA100.

Stage 2 – Migrating IPv4-Only Endpoints to IPv6, Estimated time 5-15 years

Because the network supports dual-stack and NAT64 between IPv4 and IPv6 endpoints is transparent to endpoints, IPv4 endpoints can be upgraded to IPv6 at different times and independent from each other. Stage 2 migration actions include upgrading servers, employee desktops, laptops, HMI, historians, PLCs, Drives, I/O devices, and important IT assets to IPv6. The objectives of stage 2 are to support each endpoint to upgrade to IPv6 independently, and allow different software and hardware products to be upgraded independently.

During stage 2 migrations, the communication between two IPv4 endpoints and two IPv6 endpoints will remain the same whether the endpoints are on the same local network or not. However, the communication between two endpoints running different IP stacks needs to be carefully examined.

Stage 3 – Migrate Dual-Stack Network to IPv6-Only Network, Estimated time 1-2 years

Stage 3 begins when all the endpoints on the network support IPv6. The objectives of stage 3 are to support smooth transition to full IPv6-only network and allow different network segments to be migrated independently.

More information:


The ODVA IO-Link Integration SIG presented a briefing session on the integration into CIP. The goal is to map IO-Link data and parameters into the CIP model. IO-Link was introduced for factory automation in 2009 as a new communication interface for small sensors and actuators. Today more than 50 companies are using IO-Link in their products. The current IO-Link Version (V1.1) is being standardized in IEC 61131-9. The objectives of the ODVA SIG are to have easy integration into the CIP architecture so that IO-Link devices appear as much like CIP devices as possible. The goal is to publish a specification and conformance test plan by December 2014.

More Information:

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