Time Sensitive Networking Gathers Steam

Nov. 29, 2017
From standards development collaboration between the Industrial Internet Consortium and Avnu Alliance to deployment of OPC UA, Time Sensitive Networking is quickly moving from technological possibility to the industrial networking option of the very near future.

As development of the Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) standard progresses and more suppliers become involved, organizational alliances are developing to more quickly advance work on the standard. A case in point is the announcement of an agreement between the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and Avnu Alliance.

The two organizations have agreed to work together to advance deployment and interoperability of devices with TSN open standards. According to IIC and Avnu, the organizations will “align efforts to maximize interoperability, portability, security and privacy for the industrial Internet.” The IIC supports two TSN testbeds where member companies collaborate to test TSN implementations and device interoperability.

Joint activities between the IIC and Avnu Alliance will include:

  • Identifying and sharing Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) best practices;
  • Realizing interoperability by harmonizing architecture and other elements; and
  • Collaborating on standardization.

Read about a TSN presentation delivered at the IIC’s 2017 IoT Solutions World Congress explaining the standard’s ability to deliver deterministic communications regardless of the deterministic ability of end devices on the network.

Todd Walter, Avnu Alliance Industrial Segment Chair and chief marketing manager at National Instruments, said Avnu’s liaison agreement and work with the IIC TSN Testbed demonstrates “real-world applications and solutions with TSN and helps to accelerate readiness for the market. The testbed stands as a showcase for the value that TSN standards and ecosystem of manufacturing applications and products bring to the market, including the ability for IIoT to incorporate high-performance and latency-sensitive applications.”

Avnu and IIC met with more than 20 companies for a TSN Testbed plugfest in October to evaluate and conduct TSN device conformance tests to develop a baseline certification for the industrial market. This event was the most recent of eight hands-on plugfests conducted in the U.S. and Europe over the past 18 months. Lessons learned from these plugfests and the ongoing IIC TSN Testbed activities are contributing to the conformance test development for the TSN standard and feed into standards revisions as necessary. According to Avnu, these conformance tests ensure that the device or its embedded silicon conforms to the relevant IEEE standards, as well as additional requirements that Avnu has selected as necessary for proper system interoperability.

Following the October 2017 plugfest, Avnu Alliance and the IIC announced a working agreement with the OPC Foundation to provide conformance testing and certification of OPC UA over TSN devices. The OPC Foundation also announced the availability of the “release-candidate form” of the Publish-Subscribe extension for OPC UA. Thomas Burke, OPC Foundation president, said this extension “enables the exchange of OPC UA over UDP connections” and notes that it is “the prerequisite for running OPC UA over TSN. OPC UA over TSN adds additional capability to the OPC Foundation portfolio, including enhancing controller-to-controller and machine-to-machine communication and information integration.”

Companies currently participating in the IIC TSN Testbed are: Analog Devices, Avnu Alliance, Belden/Hirschmann, Bosch Rexroth, B&R Industrial Automation, Calnex, Cisco, Hilscher, Intel, ISW, Ixia, Kalycito, KUKA, National Instruments, Phoenix Contact, Pilz, Renesas Electronics, SICK AG, TTTech, WAGO, and Xilinx.

This video highlights the October 2017 plugfest at the IIC testbed hosted by National Instruments at its Industrial IoT Test Lab in Austin, TX.

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