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Posts Tagged ‘Profinet’


Monday, November 17th, 2008

I get calls all day long from people who are confused about what Profinet is and what it isn’t. Here’s my top 10 list of the things I’ve heard over the last few weeks:


Misconception #10: Profinet Does Not Play Well With The Other Networks. No, not at all. In fact, Profinet integrates other networks better than any other network I know. It can easily accommodate DeviceNet devices, EtherNet/IP devices, Profibus devices and many others.


Misconception #9: The ERTEC Controller is Exclusively for Profinet IRT. No, not true at all. The ERTEC 200/400 can be used as a standard Ethernet switch.


Misconception #8: I Need to Have IEEE 1588 Time Synchronization to Use Profinet. No, not true. Both Profinet CBA and Profinet IO do not use the 1588 Time Synchronization.


Misconception #7: Profinet Doesn’t use Standard Switches. No, not true. Any Ethernet switch can be used to carry Profinet IO and Profinet CBA traffic.


Misconception #6: Profinet Is Incredibly Complex To Use. No, that’s not true for a user. If you know your data representation (how your data is represented to the network), it is not hard to connect a Profinet device to a Profinet network. Now, for the automation developer integrating Profinet into a device…well, that’s another story.


Misconception #5: Profinet Developers Have to Use an ASIC. That’s only true if you’re doing Profinet IRT. If you’re doing Profinet IO or CBA, there is source code available. There are lots of challenges to it but it is available.


Misconception #4: Profinet is only used in Europe. OK, that might be kind of true. A lot of Siemens PLCs are equipped with Profinet and Siemens dominates Europe. But we know that a lot of machines coming to the US from Europe with Siemens PLCs will have Profinet devices. And some US manufacturers are beginning to use Profinet as their base network so this may change over time.


Misconception #3: Profinet only works with Siemens Controllers. Sorry Sherlock, but that’s not true either. Profinet CBA for example doesn’t use a controller at all. True that most Profinet IO and IRT applications will use Siemens controllers but you’ll shortly see PLC from Rockwell and others that can scan Profinet IO.


Misconception #2: Profinet IO Requires special hardware – Lots of people think this because Profinet IRT requires an ASIC and there are a lot of vendors selling FPGA solutions. The truth is that if you have the source code both Profinet CBA and Profinet IO can run in any Ethernet processor that supports Ethernet without any special hardware.


And now the drum roll, please….The Number 1 Profinet Misconception is:


Misconception #1: Profinet is just Profibus on Ethernet. No, it isn’t. The truth is that the device representation is the same. Both Profibus and Profinet use network representations that rely on the Rack/Slot/Module kind of data representation. That means that all data has some sort of designation in that format but that’s where the similarity ends.


Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Sometimes it just doesn’t pay to do things differently. I’m the kind of guy that likes to have a good time, laugh a lot and have a lot of fun at work. I’m just not that serious. My family claims that I don’t take anything seriously.

I just laugh at everything and present RTA information in an interesting and enjoyable way for the audience. For example, last month I started a meeting with a very high profile group of Engineers in North Carolina by telling them that it’s Vladimir Putin’s Birthday and I came there at great sacrifice as my family usually gets together and has a cookout to celebrate Vlad’s Bday. I went on and on about how we all smack the Vlad Putin piñata and drink Russian Vodka (except for Uncle Jerry, of course) and how much I was missing out to be with them. It got everybody loose and really set the right tone for the presentation.

Well, know I’ve been silenced. Shut up forever. And I’m not all that happy about it. It used to be that at the Profinet Developers seminars each vendor would have 15 minutes to describe their products. Well you can imagine what it’s like for the audience to get 8 presentations full of gigabytes, megahertzes and milliamps from some of the most monotoned people on earth. A complete sleep fest. Except for mine of course. My 15 minutes was filled with stories of 8-bit Japanese codes (different than US codes), cubical days at Allen-Bradley (more magazines read in a day than anywhere else in the world), idiotic managers from Kimberly Clark (well, they fired me, duh!) and how I promise to lay off anyone who brings a donut to work (no will power). Rapt attention to me and higher retention of my message.

But that’s all over now. The other vendors convinced the Profinet powers that we shouldn’t do the presentations. That it wasn’t effective. They couldn’t compete with me so it’s over. I’m silenced. Never to emerge again with only this blog to get my sometimes funny, sometimes idiotic point of view across. I’ll live but I’m not happy about it.

RTA, Inc. - The Industrial Networking Home for DeviceNet, EtherNet/IP, Ethernet Drive,
Modbus TCP, Modbus RTU, PROFINET CBA, PROFINET IO, BACnet, IEC 61131-3,
IEEE 1588, AS-Interface, PROFIBUS, EtherCAT and other networks.
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