The future of Ethernet in the manufacturing environment

  • Frances Monk Rockwell Automation


Ethernet’s worldwide acceptance in commercial environments has created an eagerness to expand its responsibilities on the plant floor. The network’s performance capabilities make it ideal for tasks such as data monitoring, trending, and program maintenance. However, many predict that recent technological advancements in Ethernet, including Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet and switch technology, will also enable it to handle mission critical control responsibilities currently being managed by existing industrial automation networks. Meanwhile, others contend that Ethernet has a long way to go before it can assume an expanded role in the manufacturing environment. This article provides an overview of Ethernet, describes how Ethernet networks are implemented in manufacturing today, and discusses a number of practical and important considerations regarding their implementation in the future.

Position Paper from Rockwell