In the 1970s, Ethernet was developed for transmitting data to directly wired computer networks in business, which became widely known as LAN (local area network). The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, known as IEEE, defined the software protocols, the cable types and the connectors that would be used. Over the next two decades, IEEE ultimately created WLAN, enabling systems to transfer data locally without cables and connectors. In the 1980s, fieldbus technology was being developed to enable communication between sensors and actuators. The basic idea was the same – to enable systems to talk to one another – however, the fieldbus protocols such as Interbus, Profinet, Devicenet etc. couldn’t communicate with the business level Ethernet systems. High data transmissions over short distances were required for the business level, typically using 10-100Mbps. In industry, however, longer distances needed to be covered in the production level via fieldbus – requiring higher data transmission rates up to 10Gbps.Since then, Ethernet has become a core component of industrial automation technology with the introduction of real-time software protocols such as Profinet, Ethernet/IP and EtherCAT. This was the first introduction of data communication between the business and industry levels, but the needs for each area became more diverse with higher IP6# requirements for industry. Therefore, the interconnect interfaces became more robust in industry to help prevent vibration, dust and electromagnetic interferences whereas, in the business level, IP20 solutions were still sufficient.
Read the full article in the May issue of PBSI
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