Every year PI conducts an audited count of new nodes installed for PROFINET, PROFIBUS, PROFI in Process, PROFIsafe, and more. No other organization does this, so any numbers you see for nodes of EtherNet/IP or EtherCAT are estimates.

The count is conducted by an independent third party. He sends a request to device makers who respond anonymously with their company’s node count. If the company does not respond, their count is entered as zero. (That’s the wrong approach in my opinion, because we know they made some. So, we definitely undercount our nodes.) Only the aggregate number is reported to PI.

The numbers:

PROFINET. Now at 16,400,000 after adding 3,600,000 in 2016. A 28% increase year over year.

PROFIBUS. Now at 56,100,000. 2,400,000 were added in 2016. A slight decline from 2015. The decline has been a long time coming – surprising everyone.

PROFIsafe. The most-installed functional safety bus grew to almost 7,000,000 in 2016.

IO-Link. Explosive growth of this fieldbus-independent communications technology continues. Now at 5,300,000 total installed, 1,700,000 in 2016 alone.


  • We care enough about the numbers to independently verify them.
  • PROFINET has finally vastly overtaken PROFIBUS in nodes installed in 2016.
  • IO-Link is a big success.
  • PROFINET is the fastest growing Industrial Ethernet. (We surmise this even though competing technologies don’t make the effort to count their own nodes.)

–Carl Henning