The Evolving Time Sensitive Networking Standard for the Industrial IoT
As awareness surrounding IoT standardization continues to grow, more eyes are being drawn to interoperability and network infrastructure solutions, including Time Sensitive Networking (TSN). A standard from the IEEE 802 committee, TSN looks to solve the need to process raw data in a time critical fashion in addition to reducing latency and increasing robustness. To support new capabilities of IoT-enabled infrastructure, designers, engineers, and end-users need to rely on time synchronized and reliable networking.
Formerly known as Audio Video Bridging (AVB), TSN soon shifted its name as industrial companies realized the advantages for time sensitive applications in their space. Standard Ethernet continues to expand its range, functionality and applications with the evolution of the AVB standard into TSN. The new capabilities of TSN provide the Industrial community with the ability to use standard Ethernet to support highly reliable and precise synchronized networking appropriate for industrial control.
The AVnu Alliance, an industry consortium driving open, standards-based deterministic networking, in addition to advancements made to TSN, are working with member companies like Cisco, General Electric, National Instruments and more to drive this next-generation standard and create an interoperable ecosystem through certification. Members are working within the Alliance to develop the foundational elements needed for industrial applications, based on the common elements of AVB/TSN.
“TSN promises through standard silicon to converge the previously disparate technologies needed for standard Ethernet communication, for deterministic high speed data transfer, and for high accuracy time synchronization. These developments will create a common foundation that will impact numerous applications and markets ranging from machine control and asset monitoring to test cells and vehicle control. Key technology and equipment providers to the industrial market are supporting the effort. National Instruments is happy to collaborate within the solid ecosystem that AVnu Alliance is building,” said Mike Santori, Vice President, Product Marketing, National Instruments.
The TSN standard bids several benefits over today’s commonly used Ethernet protocols. For example, Ethernet derivatives used for industrial control today limit themselves to 100 MB of bandwidth and half-duplex communication while TSN offers much higher bandwidth options including 1 GB or 10 GM with a potential 400 GB in the future. As for security, TSN protects critical control traffic while simultaneously incorporating high-level IT security necessities. In addition to a more secure network, TSN also ensures reliable delivery of time-critical traffic and seamlessly integrates with existing applications as well as standard IT traffic to strengthen interoperability.
The Future Will Arrive on Time
The IEEE 802.1 Time-Sensitive Networking Task Group and the AVnu™ Alliance are hard at work to finalize the standards. Portions of the standard and working references from vendors will begin to appear in 2016. You can learn more about the details of this work at: http://www.ieee802.org and www.avnu.org.
As IIoT adoption continues, increased amounts of data and widely distributed networks will require new standards for sharing and transferring critical information. Just as an ambulance or fire engine receives priority among other traffic during an emergency, the TSN standard ensures that critical, time-sensitive data is delivered on time over standard network infrastructure. Welcome to life in the fast lane with the IIoT.