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Profinet IRT+

06 May 2008

Eager to show its leadership in Profinet technology, Phoenix Contact had its first display of a new generation of Profinet IRT protocol that is claimed to turbocharge the real-time fieldbus to new speed levels (there was a similar exhibit in the PNO stand).

The eight-node display was built with the new protocol loaded into FPGAs used as Profinet slave chips. Reducing the Ethernet messaging overhead is the main technique used to speed up the communication.

The new scheme is called ‘Dynamic Frame Allocation’ and it works like this: instead of passing the same Ethernet message continuously from node to node, the Profinet IRT chip in each device deletes its section of the message (its ‘frame’) before it sends the message on to the next node. So, the total message size gets smaller and smaller as it passes through the system. After it gets to the last node, there’s nothing left of it.

Martin Müller of Phoenix Contact explained that a combination of other techniques, such as using local IP addresses instead of global IP addresses, are used to reduce the messaging overhead.

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