Industrial Ethernet has become such a fundamental part of manufacturing that it has its own university, or at least a readymade curriculum. Industrial Ethernet has become the network of choice for instrumentation, monitoring and control applications, but a limited number of individuals understand the technology, especially those just entering manufacturing. Proper knowledge can greatly improve the success of any Ethernet project or implementation.
Contemporary Controls has launched the Industrial Ethernet University (IEU) as a free-to-use virtual education center that provides amazingly robust learning materials on Ethernet as it relates to industrial automation. Consisting of 22 individual lessons, the courses feature both essential and elective material that offers a student the opportunity to learn at an individual pace.
IEU was created to educate individuals on the benefits of deploying Ethernet in a variety of industrial applications. Despite its origin with Contemporary Controls, the material is designed to be vendor-neutral and provided free of charge. The ongoing purpose of the university is to educate for the benefit of the industry.
Students can learn the basics of industrial Ethernet from the physical and data link layers up through the network, transport and application layers. All material comes from the IEEE Standard. 802.3 and relevant Request for Comments.
The application of Ethernet to factories and buildings continues to expand with the current emphasis on operational technology (OT). The rapid adoption of Ethernet-based communication protocols at the machine level, the rapid diffusion of cloud-based user interfaces and the increased popularity of mobile solutions to access data and perform tasks has driven many colleges and learning centers to include coursework on the concepts of industrial Ethernet to their curricula.
For instructors wishing to incorporate the IEU into their classes, a multiple-choice test for each lesson is available upon request. Each test features 10 questions regarding the lesson to verify the student’s grasp of the material. A separate answer key is included; however, only verified instructors and educators are granted access to this material to prevent cheating.
While the IEU can stand alone, it is also possible to couple this material with Contemporary Controls’ products to create an entire hands-on curriculum to teach students the concepts of automation control.