Simplifying industry adoption of time-sensitive networks

To help automation device vendors adopt Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN), Profibus and Profinet International (PI) have launched the Profinet Community [software] Stack. This portable software stack provides the basic functions required by Profinet-enabled devices. These basic functions can then be tailored to the specific hardware the stack is implemented on and the application software that will use it. From the start, Profinet Community Stack was developed and released with TSN integration in mind.

Available to PI members, the stack can be downloaded free of charge from the PI website (www.profibus.com). It is aimed primarily at Profinet solution providers or technology partners, and secondarily at device vendors. It gives our technology partners a foundation on which to build their software stacks that allow device vendors to easily add Profinet to their products. They are the experts to help add Profinet to a device and can be consulted at any time during the onboarding process.

Profinet + TSN Easy Test
Every Profinet-enabled device must pass compliance testing and certification before it can be placed on the market. The same test tool used by PI test labs to put devices through their paces is available for download and use by device vendors. It is an automated tester that walks through test cases and gives clear results for each test case performed. Since TSN requires clock synchronization, hardware support is needed in devices via TSN-enabled Ethernet chips. This means that the hardware used by the test tool must also have such hardware support.

To facilitate the TSN integration process, the latest version of the Profinet test tool has been developed to use a widely available and commercially available (COTS) development kit for TSN functionality. The test tool runs on any laptop and launches test cases through the connected TSN SDK. This ensures that device vendors can easily run test cases themselves through this COTS hardware.

Focus on features
Automation component manufacturers need to focus their efforts on developing the features and functionality of their devices. Meanwhile, integrating a communication interface should be as simple as possible. With the Profinet Community Stack and COTS hardware for automated TSN testing, PI helps device vendors do just that. We want to enable end-user adoption of TSN by making it easier for device vendors to integrate.