While fieldbus systems dominated factory networking and automation for decades, ethernet is moving in, and taking over, as the standard for networking and automation in manufacturing settings.

With more than 500 million ports installed worldwide in enterprise networks, Ethernet has become the dominant networking technology and a de facto standard. It delivers wide availability, openness, high performance and cost-effectiveness, and enjoys such wide acceptance because it is easy to understand, deploy, manage and maintain.

Ethernet technology delivers substantially higher performance. And, because it is based on industry standards, it can run on and be connected to any Ethernet-compliant device from any vendor.

Ethernet does have its drawbacks for industrial applications, but these are being addressed alongside its adoption into manufacturing facilities because of its ease of interoperability.

Automation and control protocols differ significantly from standard Ethernet implementations. But major control system manufacturers now incorporate versions of Ethernet networks and higher-level Ethernet-related protocols in their product offerings.

Today, “industrial Ethernet” is being promoted with several different proprietary designs. More than 20 different protocols compete in various segments of this rapidly growing market, each offering adaptations to meet different real-time and cost challenges.

Read more at Automation World.