You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your family of networks. And if you’re a forward-thinking manufacturer or plant producer, chances are good you’ve selected the EtherNet/IP platform from the family of networks available for the Common Industrial Protocol, or CIP.
According to findings published by the Aberdeen Group, “The best-in-class have taken advantage of the latest technology and are more likely than their competitors to implement a fully industrial Ethernet architecture.”
There are good reasons for making that choice. Primary among them: EtherNet/IP’s proven reputation for enduring flexibility and high-speed performance – two valuable attributes for producers who need to ensure 100 percent network availability.
Designed for interoperability
Flexibility and responsiveness are inherent to EtherNet/IP design, which is based on intelligent engineering best practices.
In fact, the EtherNet/IP protocol is expressly designed for interoperability between applications and between different physical layers.
EtherNet/IP, like other CIP networks, follows the Open Systems Interconnection (OS) model, which defines a framework for implanting network protocols in seven layers: physical, data link, network, transport, session, presentation and application.
The distinctive way that EtherNet/IP interacts with CIP – and the way it transmits, assembles and routes data – translates to several advantages for manufacturing automation applications:
- Its producer-consumer services allow users to simultaneously control, configure and collect data from intelligent devices over a single network or, via a backbone, over multiple distributed CIP networks.
- It is compatible with standard Internet protocols and standard industrial protocols for easier data access and exchange.
- It complies with IEEE Ethernet standards, providing users a choice of network interface speeds and a flexible network architecture.
Active infrastructure, greater connectivity
As a producer-consumer network, EtherNet/IP supports multiple communication hierarchies and message prioritization, boosting the efficiency of its bandwidth usage and outperforming networks based on a source-destination model.
Its infrastructure sets it apart as well. Typical device or control-level networks operate on a passive infrastructure that limits the number of devices and the ways they can be connected. But with its active infrastructure, the EtherNet/IP network can accommodate a virtually unlimited number of point-to-point nodes.
EtherNet/IP’s nimble infrastructure translates to flexible network design. Users can customize their networks to accommodate today’s requirements while easing the way for cost-effective expansions tomorrow.
Advantages at the data-link layer
Best-in-class manufacturers demand reliability and resiliency at both the physical and the data-link levels. EtherNet/IP excels in both arenas.
EtherNet/IP employs the IEEE standard for transmitting data packets between devices on the data link layer, using the Media Access Control (MAC) protocol to allow devices to talk over the network.
And today, EtherNet/IP allows networked devices to both send and receive packets of Ethernet data simultaneously. A single frame of industrial EtherNet/IP can contain up to 1,500 data bytes.
With its high-data capacity and real-time control capabilities, EtherNet/IP exponentially increases the network’s determinism, making the system ideal for embedding intelligence into ever-smaller devices. It’s one more reason that this industrial protocol is favored by so many businesses for such a wide range of industrial applications.
EtherNet/IP at the network and transport layers
Some industrial protocols manage motion control at layer 2, and others at layer 1. But EtherNet/IP’s design uses the standard Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) suite to send messages between devices and manage communications with other networks.
TCP/IP is located on layer 3 and 4, where internet based networks manage communication between devices and with other networks – this is abstracted from Layer 7, the application layer where CIP resides. For industrial users, this means better communication between automation and control devices, and between multiple networks.
A bridge to the future
Sustainable growth is a key performance metric for businesses at every level, from the C-suite to the plant floor. And that’s a promise CIP and EtherNet/IP can deliver on.
For producers who want their industrial network to endure and expand with their plant – and their enterprise – the CIP and EtherNet/IP choice represents best-in-class thinking.
To learn more, sign up for the Industrial IP Advantage eLearning courses here.