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Industrial Ethernet describes a series of protocols based on Ethernet as a communication medium. Unlike "office Ethernet", Industrial Ethernet systems such as ProfiNet, EtherCAT and Ethernet/IP are designed for high real-time performance and robustness in order to satisfy the demands of industrial production.
Industrial Ethernet permits integrated communication at all levels, from sensors and actuators through superordinated controllers (PLCs) and beyond to the control level. An intelligent field device can transmit data about its status, energy consumption, and the process via this interface. At the same time, parameters of the controller may be modified and then transferred to the product.
In contrast to field devices equipped with IO-Link, Industrial Ethernet devices can communicate directly with the plant control system and do not require any intermediary IO-Link master. This permits even simpler cabling of the system.