As we cross into 2018, the rise of Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) is coming into focus with a focus on new solutions for control, visualization, and cloud connectivity. TSN is a key emerging technology that is moving beyond standards into new products and offerings that are likely to gradually alter the landscape in automation and control as we move into the future.
Cisco Offer TSN Switches
Cisco claims it became the first major switch vendor to release a TSN product for the industrial market in 2017. A partnership with TTTech has strongly supported the deployment of TSN in Cisco’s new IE4000 switch, part of a long-standing cooperation including technology development and collaboration in the IEEE TSN standardization group.
|The standard version of Cisco’s new IE4000 is a 20 port Gigabit Ethernet switch, designed for industrial and ruggedized applications, that also supports Time Sensitive Networking. Image source: Cisco Systems|
Cisco’s standard version IE4000 is a 20 port Gigabit Ethernet switch designed for industrial and ruggedized applications. In developing the unit’s TSN enhancement, Cisco enhanced the IE4000 with time sensitive capabilities by leveraging TTTech’s IP implementation and scheduling know how. This family of switches provides flexible and resilient industrial Ethernet products that combine secure connectivity and simple management for successfully implementing edge applications. The IE 4000 Series also offer Gigabit connectivity to Cisco’s ruggedized switching portfolio and high-bandwidth switching capacity, along with its IOS Software.
By leveraging TTTech’s experience with real-time systems and scheduling of Ethernet networks, the product integrates a network scheduling engine into the unit’s configuration management platform. Starting with IOS s/w release version 15.2(5)E2, Cisco customers will be able to take full advantage of TSN scheduling and configuration capabilities.
Deterministic Ethernet IP Solutions with TSN
TTTech is also introducing an Edge IP Solution, a GbE Layer-2 switch IP and software package that supports TSN. This new product offers a simple way to connect endpoint devices such as industrial controllers over standard Ethernet using TSN. It is suitable for device-level networking in industrial applications, and provides a method for integrating directly into a device’s FPGA to enable three/five port TSN switching and endpoint functionality.
|An Edge IP Solution from TTTech adds TSN Ethernet functionality to switched endpoint devices such as industrial controllers. IP core and associated software enables fast and easy FPGA integration to create open, standard, deterministic switching functions. Image source: TTTech|
The Edge IP Solution supports core functions of TSN such as time-synchronization (IEEE 802.1AS) and traffic scheduling (IEEE 802.1Qbv), as well as frame preemption (IEEE 802.1Qbu) and cut-through. It combines with the company’s Slate XNS software to assist in building topologies, creating schedules and deploying configurations for TSN networks. Configurable design blocks enable users to choose from xMII interfaces and other system parameters, and IP features can be adapted to find the right balance between size and functionality. A key feature is the simplified integration of FPGA-based devices. Interconnect logic between IP functions and subsystems can be automatically generated to save time and effort in the design of FPGA solutions.
An additional product offering from TTTech that incorporates TSN is its Nerve product line including machine- and rack-mounted devices that can be deployed within a fog computing architecture. It also offers a dedicated cloud-based service to remotely manage machine software, enable off-site service access and an ability to analyze accumulated machine data.
A new MFN 100 product offers a CODESYS soft PLC to run IEC 61131-3 control applications with real-time guarantee (up to 1ms), and an Intel Atom CPU to perform complex analytics and HMI visualization. Fieldbus support and integrated TSN Ethernet switching is also an integral part of the solution. The MFN 100 also takes advantage of fogOS and fogSM from Nebbiolo Technologies which allow it to be used as part of a scalable fog computing architecture.
The Emergence of TSN in 2018
Expect to see a constant stream of TSN products coming onto the market in 2018, as the technology is moving beyond standards development. The combination of guaranteed delivery of critical control application traffic over Ethernet, and consistent latency, is an important technology for customers looking to achieve IIoT and Industry 4.0 objectives over standard Ethernet networks.
The key goal is for users to benefit from access to TSN-connected products that will enable a single standard Ethernet network that works across vendors to drive IT and OT convergence by implementing common management practices.