The evolving Ethernet

Ethernet continues to evolve and it brings up many new challenges and opportunities for automation engineers.

10/13/2013


Ethernet has come a long way since the days of 10BASE5 and 10BASE2. While editing the cover story for this issue, I couldn’t help remembering a job I had in the early 1980s. I supervised an engineering group that maintained the automated test equipment, computers, and network on the plant floor. 

Many of the challenges my group faced involved keeping the network up. More than a dozen printed circuit board (PCB) test stations and as many repair/rework stations shared a 10BASE2 network. Throw in a couple of minicomputers to manage the PCB pass/fail database and generate reports for management, and watch the network go down at least 15 times each shift.

This scenario is simple for the Ethernet of today. For the 10BASE2 we had to use in 1983, not so much. At least we could use BNC T-connectors; they weren’t allowed with 10BASE5. Also, the maximum number of 10BASE2 nodes was limited to 30. And this was a multidrop trunk—no determinism meant data collision city. 

In addition to making 10BASE2 and 10BASE5 virtually obsolete, Ethernet over twisted pair simplified cabling and transmission issues. Routers, switches, and gateways solved the determinism and collision issues. And data transmission speeds: comparing the 10 Mbit/sec from back in the day with the 10 Gbit/sec that Ethernet IEEE 802.3 can support today makes me wish we had this technology 30 years ago.

The evolution that has made Ethernet the dominant commercial network for nearly 40 years will continue to open doors for industries that take advantage of the best that automation has to offer.

This article appears in the Applied Automation supplement for Control Engineering and Plant Engineering



The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Doubling down on digital manufacturing; Data driving predictive maintenance; Electric motors and generators; Rewarding operational improvement
2017 Lubrication Guide; Software tools; Microgrids and energy strategies; Use robots effectively
Prescriptive maintenance; Hannover Messe 2017 recap; Reduce welding errors
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Research team developing Tesla coil designs; Implementing wireless process sensing
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems
Natural gas engines; New applications for fuel cells; Large engines become more efficient; Extending boiler life

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me