Why deterministic Ethernet matters to manufacturing

March 15, 2016
National Instruments and other members of the Industrial Internet Consortium have announced a collaborative effort on the first TSN testbed for manufacturing.
About the author
Mike Bacidore is the editor in chief for Control Design magazine. He is an award-winning columnist, earning a Gold Regional Award and a Silver National Award from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. Email him at [email protected].No one is driving time sensitive network (TSN) standards. Literally. Deterministic Ethernet is making automobile electronic systems more adaptable to the requirements for advanced driver assistance systems, which could give the green light to the age of driverless vehicles and connected cars. See? No one driving.

Anyway, that pioneering work from the automotive industry has changed the idea of what’s possible for deterministic control in manufacturing. Actually, we’re almost beyond considering what’s possible. We’re at the testing stage.

National Instruments (NI) and other members of the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIT) have announced a collaborative effort on the first TSN testbed for manufacturing.

“The goal of this testbed is to display the value of new Ethernet IEEE 802 standards, referred to as TSN, in an ecosystem of manufacturing applications,” explains Todd Walter, chief marketing manager at NI. “IEEE 802.1 will support all of the bandwidth standards. In industrial, it’ll largely be 100 MB and some 1 GB, plus 2.5 GB and 10 GB. There’s even work going on for a 400 GB bandwidth. Because it’s Ethernet, it can keep scaling with the Ethernet standard.”


TSN powers a standard, open network infrastructure supporting multi-vendor interoperability and integration with new guaranteed performance and delivery, says Walter. “The technology can support real-time control and synchronization, for example between motion applications and robots, over a single Ethernet network,” he says. “TSN can at the same time support other common traffic found in manufacturing applications, driving convergence between IT and operational technologies.”

Also read: How machine builders can prepare for the IIoT

Standardized and open communication is a key feature in drive and control automation solutions at Bosch Rexroth, one of the testbed collaborators. “The IIC TSN testbed is a very important contribution for further improvement of vendor interoperability and of exchanging data in an IIoT infrastructure,” says Ralf Koeppe, vice president of engineering and manufacturing electric drives and controls.

“The new IIC TSN testbed is an opportunity to work with other industry leaders to prove standard technology for distributed real-time control systems as needed for edge cloud computing also known as fog computing,” says Christian Schloegel, chief technology officer at KUKA, another testbed participant. “We view TSN, combined with OPC UA publish/subscribe, as a core element to implement Industry 4.0 standards.”

Yet another collaborator,  TTTech has 20 years of experience in time-scheduled networks and critical real-time controls. “We look forward to collaborating with the other testbed members to build an open, standard platform for the IIoT,” says Georg Kopetz, TTTech cofounder and executive board member.

Other testbed collaborators include Cisco, Intel and Schneider Electric.

Learn more about the testbed at

Homepage image courtesy of hywards at 

About the Author

Mike Bacidore | Editor in Chief

Mike Bacidore is chief editor of Control Design and has been an integral part of the Endeavor Business Media editorial team since 2007. Previously, he was editorial director at Hughes Communications and a portfolio manager of the human resources and labor law areas at Wolters Kluwer. Bacidore holds a BA from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. He is an award-winning columnist, earning multiple regional and national awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He may be reached at [email protected] 

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