Fraunhofer IOSB-INA shows interoperability of Ethernet TSN

Lemgo stellt auf Fachkongress TSN/A in Bad Homburg aus

The TSN/A - Conference, a cooperation of the Avnu Alliance and the trade journals Computer & AUTOMATION and Elektronik automotive is now considered one of the knowledge hubs in the field of industrial Ethernet standards. Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) extends standard Ethernet to provide time sensitivity for applications that require robust, deterministic connectivity. TSN has broad impact, particularly in application areas such as industrial manufacturing, automotive, and pro AV / consumer IP networking. The 2019 TSN/A conference covered the technology aspects of standardization as well as application-specific topics in various markets and industries.

Fraunhofer and NXP jointly present TSN interoperability: 

In the interoperability demo of the Lemgo researchers, the communication class "Isochronous cyclic communication with bounded low latency" is tested on the basis of "Scheduled Traffic" (maximum QoS - Quality of Service). 

The test network is set up with components from different manufacturers (multi-vendor) and with link speeds of 100 MBit/s and 1 GBit/s (mixed link speed). The cooperation partners demonstrated how multiple protocols (PROFINET and OPC UA) can be transmitted over a TSN network without influencing each other (even in the highest QoS class mentioned). The basic TSN mechanisms used in the demonstration are Time Synchronization, Preemption and Time Aware Traffic Shaping. As further partners of the Centrum Industrial IT (CIIT), Phoenix Contact and Weidmüller are involved in the demonstration with their components. Co-developer and researcher at Fraunhofer IOSB-INA, Carsten Pieper, emphasized the importance of the participation of different domains and vendors: "Cross-company cooperation is an important basis for a successful development and market launch of industrial communication systems. Ethernet TSN is a very promising technology. However, sophisticated test and diagnostic concepts are important to master the complexity and interoperability."

© Fraunhofer IOSB-INA
Developers and users are networking and looking for reliable standards: This year's TSN/A in Bad Homburg enjoyed a high number of participants.

Why TSN?

Industry 4.0 describes dynamically networked production with frequent reconfiguration of machines and systems as well as the use of cloud technology and data-based smart services. This requires continuous, powerful and flexible communication from the field level to the Internet, in which different protocols can be used simultaneously. Under the name Ethernet TSN (Time Sensitive Networks), the IEEE is developing standards for Ethernet-based real-time communication that can achieve this. The use of Ethernet TSN for industrial automation is currently defined in the profile standard IEC/IEEE 60802 TSN-IA.

Group Manager for Industrial Communication and IoT at the Fraunhofer site in Lemgo, Sebastian Schriegel, also rates the commitment at TSN/A as a success: "The standardization process of the TSN profile for industrial automation under the IEC/IEEE 60802 standard is currently underway - results from prototyping and testbed projects like those of our joint project serve to validate the technical concepts and are therefore extremely valuable for good standards. The response from the expert audience has shown us that we are making a meaningful contribution here. Because interoperability is existential for communication solutions - with increasing networking (as necessary for Industrie 4.0 and then also possible with TSN), this will become increasingly important - we therefore test hardware and software as early as possible and systematically for broad interoperability ."

Fraunhofer and its partners will expand the TSN test environment in the coming months with additional components and use of other protocols.