I'm rooting for EtherCat, even though where I'm currently working, we don't even use it.
We do use a lot of Ethernet/IP (what a horrible name!), ProfiNet and Modbus/TCP, but I really think that EtherCat is awesome due to its design. I would feel confident doing time critical I/O over EtherCat, but not with the other protocols.
One of the best thing of modern Ethernet communications, is easy OPC support. We run Kepware OPC servers and can suck in points from all kinds of disparate devices, giving us a layer of visibilty across entire facilities.
Hi Ann, I have got only old numbers from the year 2009 from IMS Research: Ethernet/IP (30%), Profinet (28%), Modbus TCP/IP (22%), Powerlink (11%), Ethercat (4%), and others (5%). Maybe, anybody here knows current numbers of the market shares of the different protocols?
Ann, How Ethernet protocols stack up against each other is an interesting question. EtherNet/IP has dominant market share in the Americas, and Profinet has a huge following. But there are a series of serious players who are winning by solving applications and winning over customers for different reasons. sercos III, Powerlink, EtherCat, CCLink, MECHATROLINK, Modbus TCP/IP and (there must be more) all have excellent technology. I'm sure we could get some good debate on which is "best".
Chuck, The automation control suppliers have overcome the limitations of Ethernet itself by implementing protocols which provide deterministic performance using the same physical layer. Some solutions do use ASICs in addition to "pure" Ethernet hardware, and there is also ongoing work for some of the protocols to work seamlessly together. Thanks.
I've configured all types of networks for our moitoring (laser gauges for example) with control electronics (industrial PC's) and have found ethernet the quickest and more simple for the customer to learn and install than Profi bus or RS-485/422 which require termination resistors and have seen mismatches that are sometimes hard to find (exept now because its the first thing I look for) ethernet is also cheaper I think and no limit to number of devices on network unlike Profibus and RS 485/422.
Thanks, Al, great summary of recent developments in industrial Ethernet. Any sense of how the different protocols--EtherCAT, EtherNet/IP, Ethernet Powerlink--are stacking up against each other? My guess is Ethernet Powerlink may be gaining ground because it's an open standard.
Streamlining and standardizing on Ethernet is definitely the way forward for the industrial network. Having one network allows operators to better manage data, security, diagnostics and any devices that might be connected to the network, and also, as you mention, Al, greater agility. Thanks for this comprehensive update on this.
It won't be too much longer and hardware design, as we used to know it, will be remembered alongside the slide rule and the Karnaugh map. You will need to move beyond those familiar bits and bytes into the new world of software centric design.
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