PROFINET Development FAQ

This month, we hosted a webinar on PROFINET Development: 7 Steps to Develop a PROFINET Device. There are many choices of ways to add PROFINET to an automation device. This webinar gave developers an overview of the seven steps to embed PROFINET in a product. In this article, I will expand on some questions we received during Q&A.

The webinar recording and slides are available online.

Development Q&A

What are the main advantages of PROFINET over the other fieldbuses?

There are many advantages for end-users and developers to choose PROFINET. PROFINET provides determinism for automation traffic whilst maintaining an open network for multiple Ethernet protocols (e.g., TCP/IP, HTTP, etc.)

Besides, PROFINET offers some key characteristics, such as

  • Flexible topology and media options
  • User-Friendly interfaces which allow fast commissioning
  • Comprehensive device diagnostics and asset information
  • Powerful network diagnostics
  • PROFIsafe: an integrated safety solution
  • PROFIenergy: an integrated energy management solution
  • Network, media, device, and controller redundancy capabilities

Is there any tool to generate a GSD file?

Some solution providers offer GSD templates of builders. Those resources help the developer streamline the process and create a suitable GSD file for their product.

How many Vendor IDs are there? How many Device IDs exist at present?

Most Vendor IDs (Manufacturer IDs) are listed on this website:

Currently, there are over 2000 certified products, and therefore the same number applies to Device IDs. The number of Device IDs equals the number of certified products, and there are thousands.

If you have a vendor ID for PROFIBUS, do you need another for PROFINET?

No, Vendor ID is the same for PROFINET and PROFIBUS.

Is it mandatory to employ Certified PROFINET Switch in PROFINET Networking application?

Certified PROFINET switches offer many advantages, but they are not mandatory. You can employ standard 100 Mbit/s, full-duplex Ethernet switches in any PROFINET network. But, remember, simple switches do not offer diagnostics or any special features. PROFINET switches are managed switches with a PROFINET interface. They provide comprehensive diagnostics and sometimes additional capabilities such as trunking, port mirroring, and VLAN.

Is PROFINET suitable and certified for the process safety systems?

Yes. However, the product must include PROFIsafe to fulfill all safety standards. PROFIsafe ensures the integrity of fail-safe signals transmitted between safety devices and a safety controller, thereby meeting all relevant safety standards. Specifically, such measures include the highest safety categories: up to SIL3 according to IEC 61508 / IEC 62061, and Category 4 according to EN 954-1, or PL “e” according to ISO 13849-1. You can find more information about PROFIsafe HERE.

Which one is better, managed or unmanaged switches?

In terms of functionality, managed switches are the clear winners. Unmanaged switches are simple devices. They fulfill the switching requirements, but they do not offer additional capabilities. Still, some choose unmanaged switches due to competitive pricing. This white paper explores the main differences between managed and unmanaged switches in PROFINET networks:

Ethernet Switches: Managed vs. Unmanaged for PROFINET