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What Are Ethernet Powerlinks?

If you need to implement applications with real-time requirements, Ethernet Powerlink is an excellent solution. This real-time protocol is 100% compliant with IEEE 802.3 standards and is available in both hardware and software. Unlike other protocols, powerlinks do not require special hardware. Ethernet Powerlinks are software-based solutions that enable network devices to talk to each other in real-time. But what are they? Read on to find out how they work and how they can help you.

Ethernet Powerlink is a real-time protocol for standard Ethernet

A real-time protocol enables communication between multiple devices in a network. It provides visibility over all devices, including the controller and the operator’s HMI terminal. This communication allows data to be transferred between standard applications, data bases, and process control systems. Any device connected to a POWERLINK network can be monitored and diagnosed, as well as upgraded from any point on the network. The Ethernet POWERLINK specification outlines the parameters for communication objects.

It is 100% compliant with IEEE 802.3

POWERLINKs are compliant with IEEE 802.3, the standard for industrial Ethernet. The standard was defined by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the world’s largest professional organization. It has been used by more than 3,000 OEMs. POWERLINK’s hard real-time characteristics and high communication bandwidth make it ideal for automation and real-time processes. The three phases of a POWERLINK cycle include defining the “Start of Cycle” frame and exchanging payload data.

It is suitable for implementing applications with hard real-time requirements

A POWERLINK communication profile follows the same design principles as CANopen. It uses process data objects (PDOs), service data objects (SDOs), remote object dictionaries, and an isochronous phase. Hard real-time communication is therefore ensured by the determinism of the POWERLINK data link layer. Additionally, POWERLINK is compatible with other standard networks, including CANopen.

It is a software-based solution

The POWERLINK communication protocol allows data exchange as a roundtable discussion with an invited moderator. The moderator enables each participant to speak at a designated time, eliminating the need for arbitration. The protocol’s software-based structure also designates a single “managing node” that acts as the “moderator of discussion,” while all other devices operate as “controlled nodes.”

It is based on Anybus NP40 network processor

The Anybus NP40 network processor is a new generation industrial Ethernet device that enables communication between devices that are part of a plant’s industrial Ethernet network. Developed by HMS, this network processor supports multiple industrial Ethernet networks and is available in chip, brick, or module form. The NP40 processor can be programmed for specific networks. Its unique architecture enables the transfer of data from one device to another with virtually no delay.