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The field of industrial communications is continuing to develop at an astonishing pace with the result that the field of automation is constantly changing. Initially, automation focused exclusively on production, but now it is part of a network that covers service and maintenance, warehousing, resource optimization and the provision of data for MES and ERP systems in addition to the actual task of automation. Fieldbus technology, which has facilitated migration from centralized to decentralized automation systems and supports the use of distributed intelligence, has been and indeed still remains the driving force behind this development. Ethernet-based communication systems provide a link between automation technology and information technology, thereby enabling consistent communication to be implemented from the field level right through to the corporate management level.