§5.2 – Device Type

Node Class

A PROFINET network is composed of different types of components.  Each component performs different tasks, generally, they are described in four node classes.

Example of device types in a network configuration

  1. IO Devices: Input/Output devices are controlled by the IO Controller. Examples include actuators, sensors, drives/motors, switches, solenoid & pneumatic valves, robots, protection & safety technology, and encoders.
  2. IO Controller: Controllers retrieve and process data from components or write to IO devices. These can be PLCs or PACs.
  3. IO Supervisor: Supervisors will initiate parametrization or programming. They will typically read from, or write to, other IO devices and IO controllers on the network and integrate information vertically through the network.
  4. Network Components: Switches or access points for wireless communication are a few examples of network components. Some network components can also be operated simultaneously as IO devices for enhanced network diagnostics.

Some PROFINET devices offer multifunction capability and can support more than one node class.


  • Types of Interfaces – Options include: Copper wire (Ethernet cable for 100 Mbits/s, full duplex), Fiber Optics (FO), or Wireless (e.g. WLAN, Bluetooth)
  • Number of InterfacesSingle Port or Multi Port

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