Ethernet Switch with Built-in Multi-Protocol Integration

Nov. 20, 2013
Innovasic’s new fido5000 real-time embedded Ethernet multi-protocol switch comes with protocol drivers for integration with any industrial Ethernet protocol stack.

One of the biggest advantages embedded technology advances are bringing to manufacturers is support for multi-protocol Ethernet communications. Considering the different protocols used across companies—and in many cases within a given facility—this capability is critical to avoiding complex and costly integration of industrial networks.

A new entry into this field of multi-protocol embedded technologies is Innovasic’s fido5000 Real-time Ethernet, Multi-protocol (REM) switch.  According to Innovasic, the fido5000 REM switch can be paired with any processor including any ARM CPU or Innovasic’s fido1100 communication controller. This switch supports Profinet, Profinet IRT (version 2.3), EtherNet/IP, EtherNet/IP with Beacon-based DLR, ModbusTCP, EtherCAT, SERCOS, and PowerLink.

The REM Switch incorporates Innovasic’s PriorityChannel technology, which is designed to ensure real-time Industrial Ethernet messages are processed on time regardless of the protocol and the amount of network traffic on the wire.  Innovasic says this feature “reduces factory down-time due to devices failing under network traffic load conditions.”

Claiming the REM Switch to be a “industry first,” Innovasic’s CEO Keith Prettyjohns added that “no other switch on the market supports all major industrial Ethernet protocols.  Furthermore, the architecture of REM includes configurable blocks that will support the future convergence of standards-based time-sensitive Ethernet protocols being developed by IEEE 802.1.”

Suhel Dhanani, formerly of Altera, spoke about the network future-proofing capability of embedded chips at The Automation Conference 2013. See his presentation from the conference.

Clarifying the role of the fido5000 switch with the lack of switch requirements in the EtherCAT and PowerLink protocols, the fido5000 is said to be configurable to meet “all of the performance and connectivity requirements for these protocols.”

The schedule for fido5000 driver releases is as follows: the Profinet IRT will be available in January 2014, followed by ModbusTCP, EtherCAT, and EtherNet/IP (with and without DLR).  Sercos and PowerLink drivers will be released in Q3 2014.

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