Reliable Ethernet Networks are gaining acceptance for many Industrial Automation applications. However, the diversity and variety of emerging Ethernet based Industrial Protocols make difficult for the Industry the selection of the technology to implement them. Furthermore, the continue evolution of the standards and their combination increment the risk in the engineering decisions. This need for flexibility combined with the need for hardware processing make FPGAs and reconfigurable devices in general, the best candidates to implement network devices and equipments able to deal with these issues.
A clear example of this need is the railway sector. Nowadays, railway companies demand modern trains equipped with the most powerful communication networks, in order to provide critical control of the train operation and, on the other hand, comfort to passengers. Interoperability among electronic subsystems of different manufacturers is another crucial issue in this field.
When new sophisticated electronic equipment was introduced in trains in the 80’s, it was necessary to use communication systems to exchange data. There were several field buses provided by manufacturers but they have some troubles to be used in the critical requirements of massive transportation systems.
- SoC-e based TCN -
In 1999 a train on-board communication standard was published by the IEC, known as IEC 61375 or TCN (Train Communication Network). This standard has turned into the international approach for these troubles. However, the need of enormous bandwidth has forced TCN to integrate and to take advantage from Ethernet networks. This integration, though, could harm reliability, safety and real time features of TCN. In this context, the Parallel Redundancy Protocol (PRP) and the High Availability Seamless Redundancy (HSR) protocols arise as effective solutions to comply with all these requirements. In addition, an Ethernet- TCN network integrating PRP and HSR enables to manage redundancy and varying compositions in a natural way.
Ethernet is increasingly being used in every network application, even in industrial control applications; it seems logical to be considered in the control of transport means, even the most critical circumstances. In fact, The most important advantage of Ethernet is their widespread use on the market. Ethernet is evolving towards higher speeds, more safety and broader application fields. This gives more competitiveness and therefore, cost reduction, more possibilities for systems integrators and more simplicity in network maintenance.
In this context, the combination between Ethernet and SoC-e HSR/PRP Switch IP Core provides best results facing critial failures in the TCN routes. As a comparison, the typical switchover (time required to find and use new routes in the network) of different protocols and topologies are shown:
- Standard IP Protocol : 10s
- Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol (RSTP): 1s
- Media Redundancy Protocol (MRP): 100ms
- Coupled Redundancy Protocol (CRP): 400ms
- Parallel Redundancy Protocol (PRP): zero recovery time.
- High Availability Seamless Redundancy (HSR): zero recovery time.
In addition to this feature, PRP and HSR ensure no- frames lost for fault-free, fault and transition states.
As can be seen in this comparison, using SoC-e HSR/PRP Switch IP Core can ensure reliability, safety and real time features of your Industrial Automation applications.