This issue of Automation World’s Industrial Ethernet Review looks at the relationship of Ethernet to the digital fieldbuses that are only just now gaining critical mass in industry. Modbus is a serial networking protocol that has been successfully ported to Ethernet via Modbus TCP (transport control protocol—one of the standard protocols that works over Ethernet). The developers of Profibus have developed Profinet—an Ethernet implementation that allows Profibus data to migrate to that medium. Other fieldbus organizations, who did not supply information for this issue, also have Ethernet implementations, including EtherNet/IP—an implementation of DeviceNet’s CIP (common industrial protocol) over Ethernet—and Foundation Fieldbus HSE (high-speed Ethernet).
Contributing Editor Terry Costlow interviewed a number of experts in the field who have their fingers on the pulse of network and communication adoption. They offer tips for implementing Ethernet and provide some cautions, as well. Costlow also offers a number of contrarian views—doubters who think Ethernet won’t work for everything. But while there are views expressed that probably have undercurrents of market position, don’t ever tell an engineer something can’t be done. She, or he, will figure out a way to do it.