Ethernet Basics

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Another PROFINET one-day class is finished.  Here in Newton, MA, the crowd was good and the exhibitors were legion.  There were an unusually high number of device manufacturers at this event, so we added a short overview of four of the development tools suppliers.  All four were exhibiting so that worked out well for everyone.

We spend part of the morning covering Ethernet Basics so everyone is on the same page for the Industrial Ethernet and PROFINET topics.  The course evaluations usually are evenly divided between attendees who think we spend too much time on the basics and those who think it is just right or not enough.  Here, though, the majority definitely felt it was too much.  Perhaps the basics of Ethernet are now better understood by control engineers.  Of course, one data point does not make a trend, so we’ll not make drastic to the curriculum changes just yet.

It was heartening to realize that just after this one concluded, the instructors, the guest speaker, and even the exhibitors were anxious to get ready for the next class.

Oh, one last thing: part of the feedback here was surprise that this was not a sales pitch.  It’s not.  We are really just educating potential users of the technology on what it is and what the reasons are to use it.  We cover the reasons to use a fieldbus.  Our real challenge is the same as that of any other fieldbus provider: it’s not to get someone to use our fieldbus instead of someone else’s fieldbus; it’s to get them to use any fieldbus!  Far too many potential beneficiaries of using a fieldbus are still using discrete wiring and 4-20mA devices.  The benefits – economic and otherwise – are real.  Check out our white paper for details.

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