Frequently asked questions about Ethernet


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.

Ethernet/IP, ProfiNet and EtherCAT are three standards (among others) that can be used for communication via Ethernet. All three of these standards are real-time Ethernet-capable and allow integration into fieldbus systems.

Profibus or Process Field Bus is a fieldbus and the predecessor of ProfiNet. It was not yet based on Ethernet, using proprietary cabling instead. However, it did already permit fast communications from the sensor/actuator level to the superordinated controller (PLC).

GSDML stands for Generic Station Description Markup Language. It contains identification, process and device data for Ethernet interface-equipped sensors and actuators that communicate via ProfiNet.

The GSDML file for each intelligent Schmalz device can be found in the online shop. First call up the item in question via its part number or designation. On the "Documentation" tab you'll find the GSDML file in addition to the operating instructions.

ESI stands for EtherCAT Slave Information. It contains identification, process and device data for Ethernet interface-equipped sensors and actuators that communicate via EtherCAT.

The ESI file for each intelligent Schmalz device can be found in the online shop. First call up the item in question via its part number or designation. On the "Documentation" tab you'll find the ESI file in addition to the operating instructions.

EDS stands for Electronic Data Sheet. EDS files contain identification, process and device data for Ethernet interface-equipped sensors and actuators that communicate via Ethernet/IP.

The EDS file for each intelligent Schmalz device can be found in the online shop. First call up the item in question via its part number or designation. On the "Documentation" tab you'll find the EDS file in addition to the operating instructions.