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Open gateway will link Profibus to Ethernet

01 September, 2000

Open gateway will link Profibus to Ethernet

PNO, the organisation representing Profibus developers and users, has announced plans for a gateway to link Profibus networks to Ethernet systems. It says that the technology, known as ProfiNet, will use open standards and will not create a new field bus protocol.

"The aim of this development is to achieve open, distributed automation," says PNO. ProfiNet will allow vertical integration between the factory and office networks, and horizontal integration for expanding existing installations. The Profibus and Ethernet segments can be integrated or operated independently of each other.

Another role for ProfiNet will be for users to monitor their Profibus devices remotely either via Ethernet or the Internet. Sophisticated devices such as variable speed drives will be able to use ProfiNet to connect directly to the Internet.

As well as linking to Profibus, ProfiNet will be able to provide communications between Ethernet and other field bus technologies. This will prevent the eruption of further "field bus wars" which could result from the emergence of proprietary Ethernet systems, says PNO.

"The use of open standards establishes a level playing field for implementing all field bus systems," PNO suggests. "This makes ProfiNet an ideal contender for worldwide acceptance."

The first products supporting ProfiNet are expected to be launched at next year`s Hanover Fair.

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