Ethernet Switches: Managed vs. Unmanaged for PROFINET

PROFINET offers a variety of possible topologies: tree, line, ring, star, etc. Nearly all PROFINET devices have two ports on them, and behind these two ports, there is an integrated switch which allows the creation of a line topology as shown. Star topologies may be more efficient solutions in some cases and for that, you have dedicated Ethernet switches. Switches come in two broad flavors: managed and unmanaged. Even though you may be able to use both in a PROFINET network, they are very different. Read this White Paper to understand their differences and make an informed decision of which may be the best for your application.

Ethernet switches on a PROFINET network should satisfy the minimum requirements of 100 Mbit/s IEEE 802.3u and full duplex transmission. IEEE 802.3u is the standard for fast Ethernet. Full duplex allows for the transmission and reception of data simultaneously at each port without collisions. Nowadays, most off-the-shelf switches fulfill both requirements, but some may offer substantial benefits and additional features.

iStock_000016092648XSmallTable of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Requirements
  3. Unmanaged switches
  4. Managed switches
  5. Advanced features
  6. Profinet media redundancy
  7. Summary

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