EtherNet/IP Race Track: Performance Metrics & Testing for your Industrial Network Interface
James D. Gilsinn
Networking has become a reality on the industrial floor. Most devices in the industrial environment are networked in order to reduce the cost of installation and maintenance and improve interoperability. Proprietary hardware and protocols were traditionally used for these networks, but in the last few years more companies have been switching over to networks based on Ethernet and TCP/IP.The information technology (IT) world has used Ethernet and TCP/IP for decades, and has developed many tests for the performance of network devices. These performance tests may not be applicable to industrial equipment, since they are primarily designed for testing how fast a device forwards packets from one port to another (i.e. hubs, switches, and routers). Industrial equipment users are more concerned with how fast they can turn on a switch, control a valve, or read the status of a machine.The Intelligent Systems Division (ISD) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is working with the Open DeviceNet Vendors Association (ODVA) to develop performance metrics and tests for EtherNet/IP (Ethernet / Industrial Protocol) devices. These metrics and tests will be designed to give the user an idea of how fast their signals will be processed by a particular device. Instead of testing networking infrastructure devices like the IT world does, these tests will be designed primarily for the end point devices, such as programmable logic controllers (PLCs), distributed control systems (DCSs), distributed input/output (I/O) devices, sensors, and actuators. The tests will also not be designed to provide information about how the device performs at all levels of the networking protocol, but instead will give the overall performance of the device for the user to compare two similar products.Although the IT specific metrics and tests will not directly relate to industrial Ethernet, it will be possible to borrow from their experience and develop performance tests for EtherNet/IP. ISD and ODVA are using a small set of definitions from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Request For Comment (RFC) documents number 1242 and 2544. These documents define the benchmarking terminology and methodology for network interconnection devices. Most networking equipment is tested against these RFCs, which will give us the benefit of a large amount of already developed software and hardware to start with. Network analysis tools are readily available, and allow the user to develop application-oriented software in order to perform specific tests. We hope to use these capabilities of commercial equipment in developing metrics and tests for EtherNet/IP equipment. ISD's long-term goal for this project is to extend these metrics and tests beyond EtherNet/IP to create standard metrics and tests for all industrial Ethernet protocols.
ISA Industrial Communications Symposium, Chicago, IL, June 2-5, 2003
EtherNet/IP Race Track: Performance Metrics & Testing for your Industrial Network Interface, ISA Industrial Communications Symposium, Chicago, IL, June 2-5, 2003
(Accessed June 2, 2023)