Industrial Ethernet White Papers and Technical Articles

Articles and white papers on industrial Ethernet networks and communication used in the automation, process control, and instrumentation industry.

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Making Sense of Data Management on Intelligent Devices

By Ryan Phillips, ITTIA
Flat file formats are not robust enough to handle all of the problems that embedded developers will face as storage media continues to grow in size. A relational embedded database is a powerful and important tool in any embedded developer's arsenal.Click here to read full article...

Designing a Robust and Reliable Industrial Communications Infrastructure

By Bill Wotruba, Belden
Guidelines and best practices that IT teams, industrial network designers and integrators should consider in designing and specifying an industrial communications network capable of delivering close to 100 percent uptime. Click here to read full article...

Factors to Consider in Cabling a Reliable VFD System

Automation.com, August 2009
By Brian Shuman, Belden
The way in which VFD-based systems are constructed and operated will have an impact on both the longevity and reliability of all the components of the system. This article focuses on the motor-supply cable in the VFD/motor system. It looks at some fundamental cable design considerations, and presents suggestions for installation. Click here to read full article...

Investment & Security: Key Challenges to Industrial Ethernet Systems

By Larry Winchester, Ethernet Direct
The saying “You get what you pay” has some subtleties that should be considered when comparing industrial switches. Here are five key areas that you should be careful to understand when choosing an Ethernet Switch. Click here to read full article...

A Safe Passage through the Real-Time Maze

By Frank Iwanitz and Wolfgang Langer, Softing
Field device manufacturers are looking for solutions that facilitate the design of devices to support the multitude of communication protocols required in today’s automation systems. FPGAs (Field-programmable Gate Arrays) represent an answer to this search. Click here to read full article...

Benefiting from Industrial Ethernet at the Device Level

By Peishan Juan, Advantech Corporation
In this white paper, the shift to Ethernet at the device level will be explored and some of the most popular industrial Ethernet implementations described. Peer-to-peer and graphic control languages will be examined. That will be followed by a listing of some of the add-on benefits of industrial Ethernet. Read entire article.

Open Control Systems and Data Networking Convergence

By Ron Bernstein, LonMark
Data convergence is the overall connecting of building control devices by allowing formerly non-interactive agents to share and use common information. Convergence can be best achieved through open control networks, as integration is the key to information exchange. Click here to read full article...

Carrying Serial Devices into the Future

By Paul Wacker, Advantech
Asynchronous serial communications connections are still the most commonly used industrial device interfaces. Serial tunneling and device servers make it possible to to continue using legacy equipment and integrate it into a modern Ethernet network. Read complete white paper...

Gigabit Ethernet: Meeting the Future with Increased Bandwidth

By Paul Wacker, Advantech Corporation
The proliferation of COTS embedded computers used for operator workstations, calibration devices, and even for field transmitters has made it possible to see a future where Fast Ethernet, rapidly followed by Gigabit Ethernet, may be available directly from the sensor electronics themselves. Read complete white paper...

When should I use a managed Ethernet switch?

By Bennet Levine, Contemporary Controls
This paper says: when you have a large network, multicast traffic, downtime is expensive, or when you are connecting a control system to an office network. Read Complete White Paper

A Growing Ethernet Challenge on the Plant Floor

There is a growing challenge on the plant floor if you haven’t experienced it yet, I am sure you will soon. A study by ARC predicts that the number of factory floor devices with an IP address is going to TRIPLE in the next four years and those devices are pushing lower and lower into the controls architecture… from systems, to sub-systems down to sensors… so Ethernet equipment with an IP addresses are increasing rapidly. Read entire article by Naeem Ismat, AutomationMedia.com.

Will Industrial Ethernet Render Field Bus Systems Obsolete?

Although it is universally accepted that Industrial Ethernet is transforming automation and process technology, this does not imply that it is the only feasible option, as Martin Müller, marketing manager of the Business Unit 'Automation Systems' of Phoenix Contact, points out. Read full article by Hannover Messe.

Power over Ethernet: The Industrial Opportunity Today

In the past, it has taken 10 years or longer for Enterprise-based Ethernet technologies to be adapted for use in industrial applications. Power over Ethernet (PoE), because of its tremendous advantages, should take considerably less time. GarrettCom believe it has contributed to faster adaptation through the introduction of the first industrial PoE switch less than two years after the IEEE 802.3af (Power over Ethernet) standard was solidified. Read entire article(PDF)

Introduction to EtherCAT - Ethernet Control Automation Technology

This paper introduces EtherCAT, an Ethernet-based fieldbus system. EtherCAT sets new performance standards. Handling is straightforward and similar to a fieldbus, thanks to flexible topology and simple configuration. Moreover, since EtherCAT can be implemented very cost-effectively, the system enables fieldbusses to be used in applications where fieldbus networking was not an option in the past. EtherCAT is an open technology for which IEC standardization is in progress. Read complete paper...

When Do You Consider Using A Managed Switch?

Many applications will operate properly when using Plug and Play (PnP) switches. With a PnP switch, "What you see is what you get." Meaning, you get "generic", "plain vanilla" Ethernet. But the time will come to achieve more than basic communications. And a managed switch will allow you to create a fully optimized network by being able to configure the network for performance and to monitor the network for status. Read entire article... written by Joe Stasiek, Sales Manager of Contemporary Controls.

Introduction to ETHERNET Powerlink (EPL 2.0)

ETHERNET Powerlink provides a protocol that on the one hand is based on standard Ethernet but on the other also meets the high requirements of determinism and cycle time. In addition it has a flexible, fully developed application interface and can thus rely on a wide range of available device and application profiles. Read full article(PDF) by IXXAT.

Introduction to Virtual LANs

A local area network (LAN) is a private network usually confined to one plant. Virtual LANs (VLANs) allow a single physical LAN to be partitioned into several smaller logical LANs. VLANs limit the broadcast domain, improve security and performance and are ideal for separating industrial automation systems from information technology systems. Read entire article...

Approaches to Designing Embedded Wireless Networks

There are a number of approaches to designing wireless networking into embedded systems. The most obvious is to use retail technologies such as PC Cards or USB adapters for low production costs. An alternate approach is to use integrated application specific modules that provide all of the wireless network specific functionality for rapid development. Both of these approaches have their benefits, and a robust design requires balancing development and production needs. Read entire article... (pdf)

Building a Secure Ethernet Environment

The trend toward using Ethernet as the sole communications network for business and industry has raised concerns about security. While proprietary networks for building or factory automation have major drawbacks in terms of limiting information flow and higher cost, their separation from other systems provides a measure of protection against unauthorized access. So how do you take advantage of the benefits of Ethernet connectivity within a secure environment? Read entire article...

Redundancy In Automation

Redundancy is currently one of the hottest topics for many industries and business information backup systems, particularly in light of the fact that more types of industrial equipment now comes with an Ethernet interface. In fact, the rapid development of hardware and software for Industrial Automation has forced administrators responsible for network monitoring and management to think more carefully about the different kinds of requirements for backing up systems in an unstable environment.  Read entire article...

Redundancy with Standards in Industrial Ethernet LANs

Industrial Ethernet networking has inherent advantages for a multitude of industrial applications. By utilizing a standards-based solution that supports multi-vendor implementations, Industrial Ethernet users enjoy highly reliable systems, reduced costs of deployment, and a guaranteed upgrade strategy as needs evolve. Now, Ethernet is tough enough for the heavy-duty applications in environments that were previously judged to be too hostile. Read Article in PDF format

Mastering your Legacy Industrial Devices Over Ethernet

When considering your investment in your installed base of Industrial equipment, it is difficult to justify throwing it all away in order to join the "Ethernet Revolution." The evidence of Ethernet's role in productivity enhancements, quality control, and cost reduction is overwhelming. Reality sets in; the actual costs of Ethernet enabling so much of your site is just too prohibitive. More Info...

Introduction to Ethernet

There has been much discussion recently regarding the applicability of using Ethernet at various levels of the control hierarchy. Since Ethernet is so prevalent in the office and frequently used as the enterprise network for high-end controllers, it would seem to be a natural to use Ethernet at the control level or even at the device level as proposed by some in our industry. Read full article... written by George Thomas, President of Contemporary Controls.

Multi-Segment Ethernet Networks

In our very first article on Ethernet we discussed the basics of its operation. We mentioned that multi-segment Ethernet networks can be constructed by using repeaters and hubs. A segment is defined as a length of cable consisting of one or more cable sections and associated connectors with each end terminating in its characteristic impedance. More Info...

Introduction to Switch Technology

In this article, the concept of switching will be introduced as an alternative to the deployment of repeaters. Switches can not only increase the overall network diameter, but will improve the performance of Ethernet networks as well. Read full article... written by George Thomas, President of Contemporary Controls.

Introduction to the Transmission Control Protocol

We have discussed the impact of the Internet Protocol (IP) on control networks. IP resides at the network layer of the OSI communications model and provides the basic unit of data transfer, which includes addressing, routing, and fragmentation. More Info...

Ethernet Hardware for Industrial Environments

Ethernet is a very good solution for industrial environments primarily because it bridges seamlessly to every organizational level and department, from engineering to manufacturing to marketing to customer service to finance to management. More Info...

Introduction to the Internet Protocol

The push to incorporate Industrial Ethernet or even "plain vanilla" Ethernet into control networks implies that by making that choice completes the selection process. Read full article... written by George Thomas, President of Contemporary Controls.

Hubs versus Switches: Understand the Tradeoffs

As Ethernet evolved to incorporate twisted-pair cabling and star topology, a repeating hub was necessary in order to connect the various link segments together. With the introduction of switching hubs as a replacement for repeating hubs, network performance was enhanced by breaking up one collision domain into several collision domains. Repeating hubs have their place, but you must understand the tradeoffs when not selecting switch technology. More Info...

Industrial Ethernet for Automation Networks

Today automation products must have Ethernet connectivity. The real question is whether to connect directly via Internet protocol, or indirectly via one of the entrenched industrial networks. Ethernet alone does not guarantee that two devices can talk to each other. There must be compatibility at the application layers. Read full article by Jim Pinto.

Optimized Internet Protocol Network for Scada Systems

The basics of an O-IP system are to allow the use of Internet Protocol (IP) over narrow band systems with all the benefits of a licensed RF path. The data rates will be in the 4800 to 19200 bps range with a higher effective throughput. More Info...

Understanding and Evaluating Ethernet and TCP/IP Technologies for Industrial Automation

Networking is a major component in successfully implementing open systems, and a network’s architecture should help to solve industrial automation problems as well as to achieve business objectives. When planning a network infrastructure, a business typically has several objectives. Open connectivity to a wide range of plant floor devices is one objective, while data sharing and gathering is another. Another objective is to have the flexibility to incorporate future advances in technology; without flexibility, businesses may be caught with dying technology that makes them unable to compete in tomorrow’s opportunities. Read full article(PDF) by Opto 22.

How to Extend the Reach of IT

Whatever industry you are in, there’s no doubt that today’s information technology staff must access, monitor, and control a much wider variety of devices and data than ever before. You’re IT — you’re where top management comes for the information necessary to compete in the new millennium. As more companies embrace the newest technologies and expect more from those technology investments, equipment reliability, product availability, and serviceability are keys to providing customers efficient, world-class service. Read full article(PDF) by Opto 22.

The Lord of the Industrial Ethernet Ring

Ethernet has become nearly as common on the factory floor as PLCs. In many cases, along with this need for Ethernet connectivity is the need for fault-tolerant network redundancy. Automation and control engineers have been forced into this IT domain and really don’t want to get too involved with the idiosyncrasies and maintenance of Ethernet networks, especially redundant networks…they just want to plug them in and they work. Along comes the Real-Time Ring™ Ethernet Switch. Read entire article by Rick Zabel