Time sensitive networking testbed for the IIoT

Collaborative project to advance infrastructure for Time Sensitive Networking with the development of a testbed that will support the Industrial Internet of Things.

National Instruments (NI) is collaborating with the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and such industry leaders as Bosch Rexroth, Cisco, Intel, KUKA, Schneider Electric and TTTech to develop the world’s first Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) testbed. These organisations aim to advance the network infrastructure to support the future of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0. To support new digital capabilities, connected manufacturing, designers and users need more reliable and secure access to smart edge devices. Standard network technologies must evolve to meet the demanding requirements of these next-generation industrial systems and improve the way we operate our machines, electrical grids and transportation systems.

The goal of this testbed is to display the value of new Ethernet IEEE 802 standards, referred to as TSN, in an ecosystem of manufacturing applications. TSN powers a standard, open network infrastructure supporting multivendor interoperability and integration with new guaranteed performance and delivery. The technology can support real-time control and synchronisation, for example between motion applications and robots, over a single Ethernet network. TSN can at the same time support other common traffic found in manufacturing applications, driving convergence between IT and operational technologies. Previously, many real-time control applications were deployed using nonstandard network infrastructure or unconnected networks that leave the devices and data much harder to access, if accessible at all. TSN’s value is derived from driving convergence and increased connectivity, unlocking the critical data needed to achieve the IIoT promise of improved operations driven by big data analytics and enabling new business models based on smart connected systems and machines.

“Testbeds are a major focus and activity of the IIC and its members. Our testbeds are where the innovation and opportunities of the industrial Internet – new technologies, new applications, new products, new services and new processes – can be initiated, thought through and rigorously tested to ascertain their usefulness and viability before coming to market,” said Dr. Richard Soley, Executive Director of the IIC.

The testbed will:

* Combine different critical control traffic (such as OPC UA) and best-effort traffic flows on a single, resilient network based on IEEE 802.1 TSN standards
* Demonstrate TSN’s real-time capability and vendor interoperability using standard, converged Ethernet
* Assess the security value of TSN and provide feedback on the ability to secure initial TSN functions
* Show ability for the IIoT to incorporate high-performance and latency-sensitive applications
* Deliver integration points for smart real-time edge cloud control systems into IIoT infrastructure and application

According to Eric Starkloff, Executive Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing at NI, “We are excited to host the new IIC TSN testbed. TSNs are a critical attribute of a standard Internet model that enables the convergence of real-time control applications and devices onto open, interconnected networks. This technology is necessary for the future of the IIoT and the IIC is providing a community, as well as enabling real-world testbeds, where industry leaders can collaborate to make this a reality.”

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