EtherNet/IP Specification Completed for Ethernet-APL for Process Automation

Advanced Physical Layer for Ethernet has been about the only substantial Ethernet news of the past couple of years outside of TSN. Various German networking and instrumentation suppliers have been developing and evangelizing this standard for several years. This announcement of ODVA support opens this technology to the Rockwell Automation ecosystem along with other supporting companies.

Ethernet-APL is intrinsically safe, two-wire extension of 10BASE-T1L (IEEE 802.3cg-2019) Single Pair Ethernet that meets the requirements of the process industries. The advantages of Ethernet-APL include communication speeds of up to 10 Mbit/s, hazardous area protection, power to field instrumentation, and long cable runs of up to 1,000 meters (IEC 61158-2). Ethernet-APL devices adhere to IEC TS 60079-47 (2-Wire Intrinsically Safe Ethernet) in order to ensure “intrinsically safe” ignition protection. The Ethernet-APL physical layer overcomes the challenges of using fast, high bandwidth Ethernet at the field level in process plants with hazardous locations and a large geographic footprint.

ODVA has announced the EtherNet/IP Specification has been enhanced to enable EtherNet/IP networks to support the Ethernet-APL physical layer for process automation. Licensed Vendors for the EtherNet/IP technology can immediately start developing EtherNet/IP components for Ethernet-APL, including controllers, power switches, field switches, and instrumentation.

The addition of support for the Ethernet-APL physical layer is another key step in the adaptation of EtherNet/IP to meet the full requirements of the process industries. Completed enhancements for EtherNet/IP which benefit applications in the process industries include NAMUR NE 107 diagnostics, HART integration, IO-Link integration, and support for the next generation of digitized device description files, including FDT and FDI. Inclusion of the Ethernet-APL physical layer will allow for end users to take full advantage of the benefits of EtherNet/IP in process plants, including commercially-based industrial control hardware, an object-oriented foundation, and standard internet protocol compatibility including TCP/IP, HTTP, FTP, SNMP, and DHCP. With support for functional safety with CIP Safety, device defense with CIP Security, time synchronization with CIP Sync, and fault tolerant redundancy with parallel redundancy protocol (PRP) and Device Level Ring (DLR), process automation installations with EtherNet/IP can benefit from network and device health monitoring, built in security and safety, and remote device configuration.

The first Ethernet-APL controllers, power switches, field switches, and instrumentation that support EtherNet/IP are expected to be available in 2022 once the conformance testing certification process is complete.

Networking News 5G and IoT

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Meanwhile, I spoke at the IoT Workshop of the Precision Metalforming Association and MetalForming magazine virtual IoT Experience with some ideas about IoT projects why and how.

Following is news from my IoT and Networking folder that has been accumulating since late summer.

Communication Service Providers share of enterprise 5G deals down

This news is a bit old, but shows an interesting point about 5G growth. Beyond by BearingPoint, in collaboration with Omdia, released its annual enterprise 5G report revealing that the share of enterprise 5G deals led by Communications Service Providers (CSPs) has fallen from 21% in 2020 to 16% today. While the number of enterprise 5G projects doubled over the course of the year, and despite telcos recognizing the need for a multi-technology, omni-partner, solution-oriented approach for enterprise 5G, competition from alternative service providers has significantly impacted CSPs share of the market. The study found that CSPs are starting to realize the importance of the enterprise 5G market but must fully commit and put the dedicated resources in place faster if they are to capture the opportunities as they emerge.

In 2020, the first report Industries and Enterprises are ready to reap the benefits of 5G found that 72.3% of CSPs already believed that most 5G revenues would be derived from B2B, B2B2C, or government/smart city opportunities. But it also found that CSPs were being cut out of the enterprises 5G engagement and the solution building by enterprises and other players in the market. Only 21% of enterprise 5G deals were led by CSPs and in 40% of the deals CSPs were the secondary supplier. 32% were led by enterprises and 7% by alternative service providers.

One year on, CSP thinking has evolved. The study reveals that CSPs now realize that solution-oriented production models also require mastering multiple technologies (such as cloud, edge, AI, Wi-Fi 6 etc) and partnership options to complement 5G networks. According to this year’s report, more CSPs understood the opportunity and started to provide private networks and 5G solutions to the enterprise. However, they are still too slow to react to enterprise demands. In fact, the research shows that in the past 12 months, the number of Enterprise 5G projects doubled while the share of CSPs deals dropped to 16%. On the contrary, alternative service providers such as private networks specialists, ramped up their efforts and operations and outpaced CSPs. Indeed, alternative service providers increased their share of enterprise 5G deals from 7% last year to 27% this year.

The report also looks at the role of CSPs in the ecosystem through the eyes of potential partners such as systems integrators, global vendors and vendor specialists. Surprisingly, all ecosystem players expect CSPs to take the lead on orchestrating different services, technologies, and capabilities and believe there is more to be done by CSPs to capture this role.

The report emphasizes the need for CSPs to assimilate lessons such as agility, speed and focus from alternative service providers; they must accelerate into the enterprise market and not wait for network slicing, complete 5G coverage, or other 5G capabilities. It also highlights that 5G network design is only one component of enterprise digitalization and that CSPs need to offer additional value to become preferred partners. They must demonstrate more flexibility within their commercial and business models.

EMnify Brings No-Code Automation to Cellular IoT Management

Also news from last summer. EMnify, the leading cloud communication platform provider for IoT, has launched its new integration with workflow automation tool Zapier, making it the first IoT CPaaS provider to offer customers no-code automation for cellular IoT management.

For IoT solution providers operating connected products globally, efficient internal processes for device deployment, troubleshooting, and support are critical. EMnify’s integration with Zapier allows businesses to build trigger-based operational workflows –quickly and intuitively– using the tools that work best for them. EMnify customers can now automate IoT device and connectivity management at scale with a few simple clicks.

PiCo, an Australian smart-retail solution provider, is among the first users of EMnify’s Zapier integration. Andrew Lowe, managing partner at PiCo, commented: “Zapier has been a great help to us in managing projects globally across disparate platforms, and we have about 15 Zaps already in use. With this integration, we were able to rapidly integrate EMnify into our project management tool that manages workflows across three continents in under five minutes.”

By integrating with Zapier, a leading brand in the rapidly growing no-code economy, EMnify can now connect with 3000+ systems worldwide, including top CRM, ERP, and project management platforms—without the need for specialist developers.

Using Zapier, IoT operations and support teams can select pre-defined EMnify triggers or actions and quickly combine them with their internal tools to create automated workflows, called Zaps. The combination of cellular IoT and no-code automation increases control and visibility for IoT businesses as they scale to deploy and operate thousands of devices globally. EMnify’s customers can efficiently manage and stay on top of their device connectivity using the tools they already rely on—without having to switch between applications. 

Knud Kegel, VP of product at EMnify commented: “No-code is to source code what cloud was to on-premises servers. No-code tools enable a higher degree of autonomy for non-technical teams, enabling business teams to participate by automating workflows, building operational dashboards, and more, so that development teams can focus on more strategic engineering tasks. EMnify’s goal is to enable everyone to contribute to the connected world, and no-code is critical to making that happen.”

To empower customers with more tailored workflows that streamline IoT operations on a global scale, EMnify is working to expand its set of actionable cellular IoT triggers and actions on Zapier. In the future, the company plans to integrate with an even wider range of no-code tools to bring greater automation possibilities to IoT businesses.

Avnu Alliance Launches Advanced Global TSN Certification Program

Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) holds promise as a real-time and deterministic extension of Ethernet. Principle backers come from the audio-visual industry looking for a standard solution for improving streaming audio/video synchronization. Another obvious benefactor would be industrial manufacturing and production applications. 

Standards have little use without testing and certification. The Avnu Alliance moves the standard another step closer to realization with the release of globally scaled testing capabilities. Details from the press release follow.

Announcement

Avnu Alliance®, the industry consortium driving open, standards-based deterministic networking, announced globally scaled testing capabilities and a comprehensive update of its certification testing procedures at newly authorized, commercial test houses around the world. This advanced global certification program will streamline certification testing of devices with Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) capabilities, including devices implementing the Milan network protocol (using TSN) for professional media, making testing easier and more convenient for Avnu members around the world. 

Global Locations

Avnu announces expanded testing at new Registered Test Facilities (RTF) around the world: Allion in Taipei City, Taiwan; Excelfore in Tokyo, Japan; and Granite River Labs in both Santa Clara, CA, USA and Karlsruhe, Germany. These well-recognized, globally dispersed test labs will lower shipping times, offer competitive pricing models, and streamline the process for members seeking to certify products and make communications between testing sites and vendors seamless. These additional test sites and locations give Avnu Alliance greater ability to scale testing capacity to meet demand, while also allowing device manufacturers to enter products into testing with less lead time prior to release. 

“As a part of standard networking technology, TSN is built and deployed around the world,” says Greg Schlechter, president of the Avnu Alliance.  “Avnu recognized that, for device certification to keep pace with innovation, we needed to expand our testing capabilities and global footprint to increase accessibilty, enable the growth of both test programs and manufacturers, and in general support the diversity of the growing TSN ecosystem.”

Avnu’s goal is to enable an ecosystem of interoperable, secure, low-latency, and highly reliable networked devices using TSN as part of the open IEEE 802.1 Ethernet standards. Avnu has a variety of test plans and programs to help manufacturers implementing TSN ensure interoperability and demonstrate that to their markets through certification programs.

Avnu’s membership brings together experts in automotive, industrial, and networked media as well as all perspectives from across the value chain, including infrastructure providers, silicon and component vendors, and end-device manufacturers. These members collaborate on the current and future requirements for an interoperable TSN ecosystem and define and create conformance test procedures, plans, scripts, and tools for devices and products that leverage Milan and TSN. Those test scripts and procedures are licensed to designated, third-party testing laboratories, where the tests are independently conducted to validate compliance with the specifications. 

Certification Management System and Product Registry

To streamline the new program, Avnu has launched a new testing portal and comprehensive Certification Management System (CMS) with simplified and intelligent certification workflows for seamless, transparent communication. Designed and maintained by experienced certification management professionals, the new CMS provides members with real-time visibility into the testing process and the ability to track device progress and timelines. 

In this web-based portal, Avnu members can submit products for testing, view results, respond to nonconformance issues, and manage the public listing of newly Certified products. All certification and testing documents are easily managed in a single, centralized location. Intelligent workflows feed data and visibility back to Avnu’s Certification Work Group to track the number of products in certification at each lab, enabling Avnu to scale the capabilities as needed to support testing demand.  

In addition, Avnu’s certification website will launch a new product registry with a robust database showing all products currently Certified by Avnu. Advanced filtering capabilities make it easy for members’ customers and end-users to search for products to specify and design into systems.

“With this new certification platform, Avnu continues to innovate in making pre-certification and certification testing easier, faster, and more convenient for member companies, test equipment manufacturers, and test facilities around the world,” added Ed Agis, Certification Work Group co-chair. “Interoperability ultimately accelerates a broader ecosystem of devices, which is the long-term advantage of this advanced global certification platform.”

The certification program will first support testing and certification for Milan devices at new locations. Testing services will continue to be offered at the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Lab. The testing program will continue to evolve; additional certification test plans will become available through these global facilities as the TSN ecosystem grows.

IIC Defines Trustworthiness for Cyber-Physical Systems Plus Adds IIoT Networking Framework

Before the Industrial Internet Consortium changed its name (Industry IoT Consortium) I had two news items from it. The first is a Networking Framework publication and the second a definition for trustworthiness in cyber-physical systems. They both appear to be worthwhile additions to the state of the art.

IIC Defines Trustworthiness for Cyber-Physical Systems

The IIC has published IIoT Trustworthiness Framework Foundations. This foundational document explains the key concepts and benefits of trustworthiness in context, relating it to the real-world supply chain and offering model approaches. Trustworthiness is essential to government and commercial organizations with cyber-physical systems impacting the safety and well-being of people and the environment. These systems include industrial control systems and almost all systems that use digital technology to sense or affect the environment. 

“Trustworthiness, and confidence in that trustworthiness, are an essential aspect of cyber-physical systems,” said Marcellus Buchheit, President & CEO, Wibu-Systems USA, a Co-Chair of the IIC Trustworthiness Task Group and one of the authors of the document. “Inattention to trustworthiness can lead to loss of human life, long-term environmental impacts, interruption of critical infrastructure, or other consequences such as disclosure of sensitive data, destruction of equipment, economic loss, and reputation damage,” continued Buchheit. 

The IIoT Trustworthiness Framework Foundations document defines trustworthiness as a combination of security, safety, reliability, resilience, and privacy and the tradeoffs made among them in the face of environmental disturbances, human errors, system faults, and attacks. Ultimately, trustworthiness depends on the strategic intent and motivation of an organization, particularly its top management, to create and operate systems that inspire trust by partners, customers, and other stakeholders, including the community. 

“Trustworthiness is the degree of confidence one has that a system performs as expected. It requires an understanding of the system, including interactions and emergent properties,” said Frederick Hirsch, Strategy Consultant, Upham Security, Co-Chair of the IIC Trustworthiness Task Group, and one of the authors of the foundational document. “In the digital world, trust and trustworthiness are achieved by understanding and addressing concerns related to the trustworthiness characteristics appropriately for the context of the entire system. Providing evidence of this can give others confidence.”

IIoT stakeholders will make different decisions and tradeoffs depending on the nature and or industry of the system. “Concerns in a factory are not the same as those for a hospital operating room,” said Bob Martin, Senior Principal Engineer, Cyber Solutions Innovation Center, The MITRE Corporation, Co-Chair of the IIC Trustworthiness Task Group, one of the authors of the document. “Designers must understand the many considerations involved in defining the appropriate trustworthiness implementation, including the supply chain, assembly, operation, and maintenance of a system.”

The IIoT Trustworthiness Framework Foundations document builds on the Industrial Internet of Things Security Framework (IISF). It is part of the IIC’s Industrial Internet Reference Architecture (IIRA), which provides an architectural framework of Industrial IoT Systems. 

You can find IIoT Trustworthiness Framework Foundations and a list of IIC members who contributed to it here. Watch a short overview video. Register for the webinar, Ensuring Trustworthy Industrial Systems on September 1, 2021 at noon PST or 7:00 pm PST.

IIC Publishes IIoT Networking Framework

The IIC announced the Industrial Internet of Things Networking Framework (IINF) publication. The framework guides IIoT stakeholders on designing and developing the appropriate networking solutions to enable industrial IoT (IIoT) applications and stimulate industrial digital transformation. It details the requirements, technologies, standards, and solutions for networking that support diverse applications and deployments across a broad range of IIoT sectors and vertical industries. 

“An underlying network is the foundation of any IIoT solution. It includes technologies at the network layer and below as well as related capabilities for management and security,” said David Lou, Co-chair, IIC Networking Task Group, Chief Researcher, Huawei Technologies, and one of the primary authors of the framework. “An underlying network enables the exchange of data and control and forms the basis of digital transformation across industries.”

The framework serves as a guideline and toolbox for IIoT networking solution stakeholders who design, develop, deploy, or operate the solutions and end-users in many industries trying to network their assets or products.

“IIoT applications span a range of industrial sectors as well as business, usage, deployment, and performance perspectives,” said Jan Holler, Co-chair IIC Networking Task Group, Research Fellow, Ericsson, and one of the primary authors of the framework. “The IINF helps organizations sort through numerous networking technologies to ensure interoperability across industry sectors. It answers the fundamental question, ‘How do I design, deploy, and operate a successful networking solution for my industrial IoT applications?'” 

The IINF includes use cases from several industrial sectors, including smart factories, mining, oil & gas, and smart grid, to illustrate the diversity of networking considerations. Networking technologies and standards are covered in-depth to help organizations address their concerns and technical requirements. Finally, the IINF includes best practices for IT architectural blueprints. 

Avnu Alliance Announces Silicon Validation Task Group

Remember Time Sensitive Networking (TSN)? A couple of years ago touted as a breakthrough Ethernet technology useful for many things including audio-visual and industrial. Then things went a little quiet. Some people I knew bailed out. Last week the Avnu Alliance announced leading network component companies have joined together to advance TSN interoperability.

Avnu Alliance, the industry consortium driving open, standards-based deterministic networking, announces a new initiative to drive alignment on TSN interoperability in the network ecosystem. In the Silicon Validation Task Group, silicon and IP companies including Analog Devices, Intel, Keysight Technologies, Microchip, NXP Semiconductors, Texas Instruments, and TTTech will work together to ensure that the TSN features of various profiles interoperate. 

Avnu has a history of providing a successful framework for industry stakeholders to collaborate to advance TSN. This task group will allow competitors to work together to develop a testing ecosystem for silicon and IP products’ TSN capabilities at the component (and supporting software) level. Group members will collaborate on activities such as developing test plans, creating validation tools, and hosting plugfests. 

The members of the Silicon Validation Task Group have come together in recognition of the fact that interoperability is required at the silicon level to enable specialization further up the stack. TSN applications span markets including ProAV, automotive, industrial manufacturing, and aerospace. Base interoperability at the component level facilitates device interoperability across various applications and profiles, including IEEE/IEC 60802 for industrial and IEEE 802.1BA for ProAV as well as future profiles that are in development. 

“As an active developer of TSN technology innovation at the silicon and system level for many years, NXP is pleased to work with our counterparts in the Silicon Validation Task Group to help craft a common set of standards for TSN,” said Jeff Steinheider, senior director and general manager, industrial edge, at NXP. “This collaboration and the associated standards will help developers take advantage of TSN’s full potential across the spectrum of related applications.”

“We consider an open, cross-industry standard like TSN as an essential basis for successful industrial automation projects. Interoperability at the silicon level ensures that customers have more choice and flexibility when digitalizing their production. As more companies and industries start using TSN, the huge benefits of interoperability increase – we can already see that in the plastics industry where the EUROMAP 79 standard specifies using TSN as the networking technology for injection molding machines,” says Thomas Berndorfer, member of the executive board, TTTech Industrial.

“Software, applications and profiles can all be tailored to specific use cases, but they need a stable network foundation to build on top of,” says Greg Schlechter, president of the Avnu Alliance. “The Silicon Validation Task Group includes key market players who can identify what TSN interoperability means for basic network components, and how we can get interoperable products to market.”

The Silicon Validation Task Group’s efforts will allow silicon vendors to achieve better economies of scale for TSN products. By providing a roadmap to verify base TSN capabilities in a common way independently from profile or application, the Silicon Validation Task Group will enable silicon providers to develop products for a broad customer base.

“Ethernet’s universal success is centered around standards-based, interoperable silicon,” says Tom Weingartner, product marketing director for the industrial Ethernet technology group at Analog Devices. “As silicon providers, we are coming together to ensure this next generation of Ethernet with TSN is equally successful across the spectrum of silicon solutions.”

Interoperability at the silicon level gives TSN the flexibility for technological advancements from one market to cross-pollinate to others. TSN capabilities developed for industrial applications could eventually be adopted by ProAV, for example, or real time media distribution methods created for ProAV could benefit Industry 4.0. This cycle of innovation has been key to Ethernet’s expansion beyond its original applications. As TSN becomes simply another capability of the standard network ecosystem silicon components should support capabilities coming online across industries.

“Ensuring interoperability at the silicon level makes it possible for product designers to focus on value-added system design,” says Douglas Anderson, product marketing manager for Microchip Technology’s USB and networking business unit.  

“We see potential for TSN across several of our markets,” says Dieter Cohrs, real time capability manager, Internet of Things group, Intel. “This effort of the component industry working together to further interoperability, starting at the silicon level will help the overall ecosystem in all of the markets using TSN.”

“Having a reliable network foundation is a real asset to product development,” says Marc Chutczer, vice president of research and development for Meyer Sound. “We can’t predict every future requirement, but access to interoperable silicon will speed up development time and will broaden the reach of Avnu-based interoperable solutions.”

Orange and Nokia first Industrie 4.0 5G Private Network

This announcement signals the beginning of what may be the “killer app” for 5G cellular. Or, it may be just another network in your tool box. Orange and Nokia announced the deployment of a 4G/5G private network combined with network slicing at Schneider Electric’s plant in Le Vaudreuil, France. Network slicing is a key feature for the management of end-to-end 4G/5G quality-of-service and security of industrial processes, operations and applications in Industry 4.0.

Nokia has been selected by Orange to build a sliced 4G/5G private network for a modern industrial environment, providing reliable, scalable and sustainable connectivity solutions for industrial use cases. 

Nokia’s slicing solution supports existing LTE, 5G Standalone (5G SA) and 5G Non Standalone (5G NSA) devices and also includes domain controller software in RAN, core and transport layers to enable full slice connectivity. The slice continuity between LTE and 5G NR allows Orange and Schneider Electric to operate a state-of-the-art indoor network in an industrial setting. With this solution, both partners continue to implement and test the management of the different priorities, performance, and security capabilities adapted to their innovative use cases, while optimizing network resources. 

As a global network-native digital services company with dual expertise of both an operator and end-to-end integrator, Orange Business Services offers its industrial customers a complete portfolio: Mobile Private Networks (MPN) built on private infrastructures, virtual MPNs on the public network and hybrid MPNs combining private and public infrastructures. The choice of architecture is made to best meet the security, performance and resiliency requirements of the business customers’ use cases both on and off the industrial campuses, as well as to optimize costs. 

Arnaud Vamparys, Senior Vice President Radio Networks at Orange Innovation and 5G Champion, said: “Thanks to Nokia’s advanced slicing technology, Orange is able to further explore with Schneider Electric the power of scalable private 4G/5G connectivity applied to industrial uses.” 

Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia, said: “With Nokia’s network slicing solution, Communication Service Providers and Enterprises can enjoy first to market advantage through the early launch of new slicing services, for all end-users equipped with 4G or 5G devices. As a long time innovation partner, Nokia is delighted to achieve this first with Orange in an industrial manufacturing environment.”