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Profinet Protocols

PROFINET (profinet acronym for Process Field Net) is an industry technical standard for data communication over Industrial Ethernet, designed for collecting data from, and controlling, equipment in industrial systems, with a particular strength in delivering data under tight time constraints (on the order of 1ms or less).[1] The standard is maintained and supported by Profibus & Profinet International, an umbrella organization headquartered in Karlsruhe, Germany.

PROFINET is a standard for industrial automation using an Ethernet network. It uses standards such as TCP/IP and Ethernet. PROFINET's modular structure allows users to select only needed functions for different requirements.

Profinet Protocols - Industrial communications hardware from ProSoft

Interfacing to peripherals is implemented by PROFINET IO. It defines the communication with field connected peripheral devices. Its basis is a cascading real-time concept. PROFINET IO defines the entire data exchange between controllers (devices with "master functionality") and the devices (devices with "slave functionality"), as well as parameter setting and diagnosis. PROFINET IO is designed for fast data exchange between Ethernet-based field devices and follows the provider-consumer model. A device developer can implement PROFINET IO with any commercially available Ethernet controller. It is well suited for data exchange with bus cycle times of a few millisecs. The configuration of an IO-System has been kept similar to PROFIBUS.

A PROFINET IO system consists of the following devices:

  • The IO Controller, which controls the automation task.
  • RT (Real-Time) protocol for PROFINET IO applications[2] up to 10 ms cycle times
  • IRT (Isochronous Real-Time) for PROFINET IO applications in drive systems[2] with cycles times of less than 1 ms

An Application Relation (AR) is established between an IO Controller and an IO Device. These ARs are used to define Communication Relations (CR) with different characteristics for the transfer of parameters, cyclic exchange of data and handling of alarms.

The characteristics of an IO Device are described by the device manufacturer in a General Station Description (GSD) file. The language used for this purpose is the GSDML (GSD Markup Language) - an XML based language. The GSD file provides the supervision software with a basis for planning the configuration of a PROFINET IO system.

Training - Ethernet/IP to PROFINET IO Device Gateway

This video teaches you how to set up our EtherNet/IP to PROFINET IO Device Gateway to connect EtherNet/IP-based Rockwell Automation controllers to PROFINET-based Siemens controllers. You will learn how to assign the gateway an IP address; configure the gateway using ProSoft Configuration Builder; connect a PROFINET controller to the gateway using Siemens configuration software and how to add the gateway as an I/O connection in RS Logix 5000 or Studio 5000.


Three protocol levels are defined:

  • TCP/IP for non time-critical data and the commissioning of a plant with reaction times in the range of 100 ms
  • RT (Real-Time) protocol for PROFINET IO applications up to 10 ms cycle times
  • IRT (Isochronous Real-Time) for PROFINET IO applications in drive systems with cycles times of less than 1 ms

The protocols can be recorded and displayed using an Ethernet analysis tool such as PRONETA or Wireshark.