The integration of TSN into Profinet is still the driving topic for the Industrial Ethernet standard Profinet and its user organisation Profibus & Profinet International (PI). But what is the state of play here?
The preparation of Profinet over TSN is an issue not only for the working groups which created the specification documents and which actively supported the standardization work in the IEC, but also for the testing experts who have designed and implemented the basis for the TSN functionality certification tests, which were provided for use by interested members by means of so-called trial bundles. The test cases for the TSN functional scope used in Profinet are expected to be available for certification tests and use in the development departments of member companies with the new version of Profinet Tester coming in 2023.
At the same time, a number of technology providers have begun implementing TSN in their hardware and firmware stacks. For early testing, these member companies are using the test cases already mapped in the trial bundles. This process is resulting in a win-win situation. On the one hand, the companies are able to assess their own implementation at an early stage based on these test cases mapped in the pre-released version. On the other hand, the Test System Development Group can use the assessed findings of the companies for efficient improvement of Tester quality.
As another pillar of support, PI has provided a Profinet Community Stack containing the core of the Profinet communication for controller and devices. The goal here is to simplify integration of TSN and both existing and upcoming Profinet functions as well. A community of committed members are expanding and maintaining the Community Stack and providing new versions, primarily to the technology producers for integration into their solutions and products. This kind of functional core offers the option to quickly respond to new Profinet or TSN versions and has a positive effect on interoperability.
As a demonstration of functional scope and proof of a high degree of interoperability of TSN in Profinet networks with subscribers from different manufacturers, the marketing working group already created a demonstrator when the TSN work began and is continually expanding it. The newest version of Profinet over TSN is being presented in an impressive, totally new modularly constructed demonstrator with an even larger variety of products. It clearly shows that seasoned technology producers are concretely implementing Profinet over TSN and in so doing are making the advantages of TSN capable of being used. Its modular design enables flexible use. The plan is to use the demonstrator at trade fairs, conferences and workshops. A recently made video provides insight into the mapped functional scope of the demonstrator.