A couple of days ago we published two articles covering the topic of Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN). The first article gave you an overview about the set of networking communication standard that have been developed by the Time-Sensitive Networking Task Group. This set can be seen as the successor of the existing Audio Video Bridging (AVB) bringing benefits especially for the requirements of modern industrial and automotive networks. Industry 4.0 means intelligent and interconnected production and an interoperability of machines. TSN standards help to reduce delays and latency, increased robustness and reliability as well as improved scalability.
Going into more detail in the second article different sub-standards were introduced and how they can be combined in order to solve diverse challenges of modern real-time communication over Ethernet. Based on their requirements and to get a tailored and effective solution, companies can combine different sub-standards. Another advantage for companies is the fact that big market leaders assembles in the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and therefore provide appropriate support.
We had the chance to ask Erich Brockard, Director Application Central Europe and author of the articles “Getting Started With TSN – An Overview” and “Everything You Need To Know About TSN Sub-Standards & How To Combine Them”, additional questions about Time-Sensitive Networking.
What is the current status of Time-Sensitive Networking, and when will companies be able to get access to this technology?
Several companies are working on TSN implementations already and some have exhibited TSN demonstrators during Hannover Fair. Also Fraunhofer and the IIC are working on testbeds. First semiconductor suppliers have solutions already, more to come.
Are there any hardware requirements necessary for the implementation?
Depending on the sub-standard, some implementations have to be done in hardware and/or in software.
What are the biggest challenges when implementing TSN?
There are many real time Ethernet implementations in the field using proprietary solutions. Interoperability is key for success. This is the reason why Fraunhofer and the IIC are building testbeds to prove interoperability. Many customers will need complete solutions to implement TSN, this means silicon, software and tools, we discuss with our partners to provide such solutions.
Are there best practices or successful examples for the application of TSN standards?
As mentioned, currently we see only demonstrators and testbeds in the industrial arena. Automotive OEMs are working already on real applications based on the current available semiconductor solutions.
Which benefits do you think are most important?
Interoperability! To realise Industry 4.0, time-sensitive networking to me is a prerequisite!
Are there any existing additional standards which could make sense and are complementary to TSN for the industrial IoT?
For industrial applications OPC-UA will be the higher layer protocol over TSN.
Is there anything missing from the current TSN roadmap, and if so could it be fixed with additional sub-standards?
Currently TSN cannot be used in the field domain e.g. for motion control when cycle time need to be in the sub 100us area. There are mechanisms possible to get there with TSN but this is currently not supported by IEEE.
Looking at industrial segments, how soon do you expect to see broad adoption of TSN in the market?
I think we will see first implementations end of 2017. But once this started we will see an exponential growth. As stated above we need TSN to implement Industry 4.0.
Are there any markets beyond industrial, automotive and renewable energies that will profit from Time-Sensitive Networking?
There are many markets which will benefit when real time Ethernet is interoperable such as test & measurement or audio/video streaming.
In order to sum up, experts like Erich Brockard are certain that there is no getting away from time-sensitive networking standards when it comes to Industry 4.0 and factory automation. It will have a tremendous impact on a multiplicity of markets by avoiding downtimes and consequently increasing efficiency.
Event information: The Industrial Ethernet TSN Congress 2016 will take place on September 27th at the Mövenpick Hotel Airport & Messe in Stuttgart, Germany. Listen to interesting speeches and visit us on our booth. Our experts will be there to answer your questions. Register here!