§5.5 – Development Environment

When choosing the format by which PROFINET will be integrated into a device, it is mainly dependent upon the eventual goals and applications of the component.  Different solutions exist for this; broadly they are:

Solution Description Significant Features
FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) + Software Stack The FPGA is based on the chosen operating system, then it is supplemented by a supplier supported PROFINET stack.
  • Flexibility
  • Easy Updates
  • Additional Hardware Switch Needed
Standard Microcontroller (MCU) Add PROFINET to an existing MCU for “Ethernet on a chip” and deploy your own PROFINET stack.
  • Cost Effectiveness
  • Single Port Software Switch is Possible
Certified Boards & Modules This is hardware that is supplied by PROFINET embedded vendors for integration into devices.
  • Short Development Cycles
  • Easier Certification
  • Low Risk
ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) ASICs are chips with full functionality built into and designed specifically for PROFINET usage.
  • High Performance
  • Integrated Hardware Switches
  • Certified Conformance
  • Second Source Support
External Coupler An external coupler has the PROFINET interface implemented which is then connected in series.
  • Low Development Costs
  • Short Time to Market

Many of these products are supported with SDKs (software development kits). With each option, there are multiple choices for consultation and engineering support, through vendors themselves and through the global PI Competence Center network.