I thought Time Sensitive Networks (TSN), an addition to the IEEE Ethernet specification, was a technology that held great promise. Some technologists I respected were working on it. Then it appeared the hype was about over. I haven’t heard anything for months. Suddenly arrives news that the Profinet specification now includes TSN support.

Profinet specification 2.4 has been completed and can be downloaded by all PI members. The specification includes TSN capabilities, and according to the organization, it is the first TSN version of an open industrial communication standard.

Gunnar Lessmann, Master Specialist Profinet at Phoenix Contact andLeader Profinet IO Working Group (CB/PG6) writes:

The Profinet technical working group CB/PG6, which has been responsible for creating and coordinating the technical specifications, has been part of PI since 2003. The members of this working group include more than 25 representatives of device and system manufacturers, technology providers, and chip manufacturers who cooperate in a very open and constructive way. I’ve had the pleasure of leading this working group since April of 2019 after having been a permanent member. The working group would also like to take this opportunity to extend our thanks to my predecessor Reiner Wamßer, who performed this “volunteer” work with great success and commitment.

Using the corresponding IEEE standards in such a way that the fundamental properties of Profinet are retained has always been important here. TSN now offers additional capabilities, such as guaranteed latency and quality of service, high-precision time synchronization, and seamless media redundancy – all using standard Ethernet hardware.

For this reason, I am pleased that the publication of the first “TSN version” of an open industrial communication standard was possible alongside the approval of Profinet specification 2.4. Naturally, specification 2.4 also includes all the details on Profinet which are separate from TSN – as usual, Profinet will remain fully compatible with all previous versions.

As with all other topics, we are continuously working on improving the standard. With regard to TSN for example, experience gained from the use of Profinet in the field and standardization from the joint activity from IEC/IEEE 60802 still have to be incorporated. There are also new topics, like the integration of 10 Mbit/s, APL, and cybersecurity, which also affect the basic specification.

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