More SUE

Since this blogging software doesn’t do a good job of sending out comments via RSS, I’m promoting a comment from Gary Mintchell and my response to this post:

Hi Carl, I’ve talked with their technical people about apples to apples comparisons. Evidently the message has not reached corporate communications people. It’s not so bad that they stick with the standard, unmodified Ethernet message. That’s true. It’s when they make comparisons to the wrong things. (Let’s not quibble over “standard” which for them means COTS – commercial off the shelf.) The Profinet ASIC for real-time (sorry, I’m writing this over dinner at Pizza Hut, don’t remember the name) is, no doubt, a “standard.” Note: I just love the marcom wars over what is standard and what isn’t. Anyway, sorry your karma got thrown off kilter again. I was just thinking that you’d been quiet for too long.

Right, Gary, SUE is true for them – it’s just not different from us. PROFINET is also Standard Unmodified Ethernet.

Not to quibble (I say, quibbling), but to me standard means the specification is available openly from an international standards body like IEC. And that is true equally for PROFINET and Ethernet/IP.

Speaking of COTS, PROFINET is perfectly happy using COTS hardware for real-time. Buy an unmanaged switch at Best Buy and it will work for PROFINET, but not for Ethernet/IP since Ethernet/IP requires IGMP Snooping.

Speaking of ASICs, please note that no special hardware is required for PROFINET real-time. But for motion control, PROFINET’s combination of open Ethernet network support and motion control level determinism is implemented in silicon. (But then so is Ethernet/IP’s, if it ever gets past the PowerPoint stage*. It needs IEEE 1588 which is implemented in silicon.) There are many ASIC providers and a few FPGA providers. You are probably thinking of the ERTEC (Enhanced Real-Time Ethernet Controller) that is available from Siemens and NEC. Others also provide silicon for PROFINET, like Hilscher with their netX chip, which by the way also supports Ethernet/IP.

Speaking of Pizza Hut, we need to talk about your work/life balance. (Sometimes more correctly stated alliteratively as “work/wife balance.”) 🙂

My karma is always on kilter; it’s just that it sometimes gets righteously indignant. I have been really busy and have neglected blogging to some extent. We’ve been one person short for the last half of 2008, but that will be remedied as we start 2009. So, I hope to post more frequently in 2009. (Call it a resolution.)

*based on your blog post: “I take this as a sign that the long anticipated CIPMotion protocol is still off in the distance.”