Eliminate the Bottleneck

Aug. 7, 2015
When it comes to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), data communication is everything. Freeing manufacturing equipment of the communication bottleneck improves the precision of networked machinery, increases the quality of products, and reduces manufacturing costs.

Automated equipment is processing information at millisecond—often submillisecond—speeds.Traditional fieldbus network technology, Ethernet (10M) and even Fast Ethernet (100M) technology is inadequate to handle the data transmission requirements of today’s networked machinery.

Gigabit Ethernet (1000M) has been in use since the turn of the millennium in the enterprise IT environment.There is also a gigabit industrial Ethernet option for use in manufacturing environments.Gigabit industrial Ethernet is a proven technology that provides the bandwidth needed to handle large amounts of data.Users starting to implement Gigabit Ethernet quickly realize that this higher speed increases the throughput of the network, reducing or even removing the network as the application bottleneck. When the network bottleneck is alleviated, the equipment and associated applications can operate with greater precision. Because machinery can operate with greater precision, finished goods can be made faster with a higher level of quality.

The increased bandwidth delivered by Gigabit Ethernet also provides the means to handle large amounts data, allowing users to better track their manufacturing cycle in addition to having constant diagnostic information available—all without affecting the operation of the application.

Of course, using a Gigabit Ethernet network exclusively is not the only means of improving the network performance in a manufacturing environment. Most manufacturing installations do not have the wherewithal to implement a Gigabit Ethernet for their entire application, since traditional fieldbus network technology, Ethernet and even Fast Ethernet technology might already be installed. However, using Gigabit Ethernet for transferring large amounts of information between other, slower network technologies can be an option to improve network performance.

This type of communication scheme, called Gigabit Ethernet tunneling, can be implemented to decrease network latency. Essentially, it connects two slower, independent Ethernet networks together using Gigabit Ethernet. The two previously independent industrial Ethernet networks can now communicate to one another via a Gigabit Ethernet network. This network completely encapsulates the Ethernet message within the data packet of its normal communications for communication between the two previous-generation Ethernet networks.

Other devices on the Gigabit Ethernet network will not be affected by these Ethernet encapsulated communications because of the larger bandwidth of the Gigabit Ethernet network. In addition, the determinism of the Gigabit Ethernet network and operation of the application would not be affected by these additional network communications. This connection between two previously unconnected networks provides improved performance for each network, as well as the overall site application. And by using Gigabit Ethernet tunneling to facilitate communicate between these two networks, the network latency is improved—improving again the overall site application even further.

CC-Link IE has the capacity to operate at this Gigabit Ethernet speed. CC-Link IE is unique in using 1 Gb Ethernet technology, which can handle data volumes and speeds many times faster than any other industrial control network—offering the necessary bandwidth required for the next generation of industrial automation in Industry 4.0 and IIoT applications.

Industrial control networks being installed now need to be ready for the next industrial revolution. Industry 4.0 and IIoT will substantially change manufacturing industry over the coming years. A Gigabit Ethernet system offers the required future proofing. Networks currently being installed also need to be able to integrate with legacy non-Ethernet fieldbus systems while meeting ever-increasing expectations for reliability, efficiency, cost and productivity improvements. End users and equipment vendors need to select an industrial control network technology that can meet all these demands simultaneously. CC-Link IE networks meet these demands.

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