We’re Number One

PI does not get to say that PROFINET is the best Industrial Ethernet; the market gets to say that. Which is why I was amused to see a technology that’s in fifth place in the market tout why they’re better than all the other Industrial Ethernets. The market has assigned them their place and it’s not better than all the other Industrial Ethernets!

Why is PROFINET number one? What makes PROFINET better? Many things. Here are a few:

Data plus information.

PROFINET delivers the data at whatever speed is needed: hundreds of milliseconds for slow changing process data, tens of microseconds for fast changing I/O and motion data. And any requirement in between. But wait, there’s more! It’s not just the data that gets delivered. Information about the data is included – engineering units, data quality, and more. Information that includes the data is also provided – the data can be arranged in a consistent fashion among devices using application profiles. For example, all the drive data can be consistently presented across drive vendors; all energy data can be consistently presented; process device data can be consistently presented…

Fault tolerance.

Is your process so critical that it requires a hot standby controller? PROFINET does that. We call it redundant controllers. Which goes with redundant I/O devices. Which goes with redundant media – ring and double ring topologies.

Diagnostics. PROFINET’s diagnostic capabilities work two ways – accelerating troubleshooting when a line goes down and preventing a line from going down in the first place. I’ve already waxed eloquent on device diagnostics and how IT protocols help prevent downtime in Uptime with PROFINET. And this video shows how downtime can be shortened:


With EtherNet/IP developers have to sign a contract with ODVA, the organization that owns the technology.

With EtherCAT developers have to pay a royalty to the company that owns the technology; the Intellectual Property is not owned by the “open” organization, but by a single company.

PROFINET is an open standard. Just buy the spec from the IEC, the international standards organization, and start developing. Or just use the development tools from one of the dozens of third party toolkit companies. They provide everything from chips to software to modules.


PROFINET is number one in the market. With good reason.

–Carl Henning