EtherNet/IP: Ethernet for automation

In deploying industrial Ethernet, plant engineers and IT departments should use an Ethernet solution designed and established to connect across applications and from the end customer’s IT infrastructure down to assets on the factory floor. EtherNet/IP delivers the real-time performance, resiliency, and security of proven, but technically mature, fieldbus solutions, with the bandwidth, open connectivity, and future-proof adaptability of standard Ethernet, ODVA explains.

07/11/2014


A converged plantwide EtherNet/IP architecture can integrate all areas of the plant over one network; ODVA provides a library of information about EtherNet/IP at www.odva.org. Courtesy: ODVAIn deploying industrial Ethernet, plant engineers and IT departments should look for an Ethernet solution designed and established to connect across applications and from the end customer's IT infrastructure all the way down to assets on the factory floor. Such a technology is EtherNet/IP. EtherNet/IP streamlines control and information flow and offers the best pathway to achieve a simple and unified network architecture, allowing the movement of data from assets to systems to process. EtherNet/IP delivers the real-time performance, resiliency, and security of proven, but technically mature, fieldbus solutions, while making available the bandwidth, open connectivity, and future-proof adaptability of standard Ethernet. 

Compliant with standards

Because EtherNet/IP can be integrated with readily available, off-the-shelf media and complies with IEEE 802 and the TCP/UDP/IP suite of standards, IT professionals and engineers can collaborate easily to deploy and maintain security, reliability, and quality of service across the enterprise and throughout the plant floor. EtherNet/IP allows common network management tools to be used for industrial and enterprise networks, in combination with a diverse hardware environment that can include standard industrial products alongside IP cameras and telephony. As a result, users can take advantage of the ongoing advancements of standard Ethernet and TCP/IP technology, making EtherNet/IP a scalable, future-ready network architecture. 

Cyber security advice

In addition, in today's all-connected business environment, manufacturers need to employ sound cyber security practices that include layered security and defense-in-depth strategies in the Ethernet network design. Specific measures such as industrial firewalls, strong authentication, intrusion detection/intrusion prevention systems, and end-point security software such as antivirus and antimalware software should also be used to help reduce security risks to industrial control systems.

- Katherine Voss is president and executive director of ODVA. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering, mhoske@cfemedia.com.

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