What’s Your Name?

What’s the MAC address of the device you are viewing this from?  The IP Address?  What’s your name?  (My device is called “Carl” since I’m the only Carl in the office.)

Wouldn’t it be great if your automation devices had names that included what they were and where they were located?  And you didn’t have to worry about MAC addresses and IP addresses?

PROFINET does that!

For a PROFINET project the names are required and the IP addresses get assigned automatically by the controller.  This provides for a couple neat benefits.  One, you can replace a device with no tools or computers.  Two, you can input the topology and names in a new project, connect the network, and all devices get their name (and then their IP address).

There are two protocols that enable this:

  1. Link Layer Discovery Protocol (LLDP), a standard IT protocol that PROFINET devices must support
  2. Discovery and Configuration Protocol (DCP), a PROFINET standard for assigning IP addresses based on device name

Here is a video demo and explanation:

For more information, see section 2.5 of the PROFINET System Description, Technology and Application.

–Carl Henning