Time-sensitive networking (TSN) is a promising technology drawing a lot of attention at the moment, as was evident during this year’s Hanover Fair. In the PNO, the Industrie 4.0 Working Group has been dealing with the issue since last year.
Participants at the PI Conference in Frankfurt had the chance to see the current state of development for themselves. TSN offers great potential for PROFINET. It undertakes to combine the wide range of IT networks with the robustness and determinism of automation networks. In short: hard real time via standard IT networks. But this doesn’t signal a revolution for PROFINET. Rather, it represents a visionary architecture that PROFINET is building upon. TSN offers PROFINET a new layer 2 in the ISO/OSI model. Nothing more, nothing less. It thus corresponds to today’s RT and IRT technologies. And this makes it clear that TSN will not simply replace RT or IRT in the coming years. It’s an additional option with a number of benefits. Today’s manufacturers that are providing solutions with RT and IRT will be able to continue providing them in the future. Users employing RT or IRT in operating their systems can be sure that they are using a sustainable technology. With IRT, we have long since proven that hard real time is compatible and stable when implemented with other IT protocols – albeit “only” as an industry-specific solution.
TSN now offers the possibility to also achieve this with standard IT components. Everything else at PROFINET remains unchanged – especially such services as diagnosis, configuration, alarms, etc. This will make it easy for users and device manufacturers alike to use TSN in the future. They can build on existing knowledge and continue using the applications they have developed. The Industry 4.0 Working Group will organize the tasks connected with integrating TSN. Interested member companies are welcome to become a part of this process at any time.