Time Sensitive Networks
What are the industrial benefits of TSN vs. Existing Methods?
Improvements to standard Ethernet through support of Time Sensitive Networking will provide new capabilities that will benefit industrial applications:
- Open standard through the IEEE 802: this assures vendor neutrality and continued investment by silicon and infrastructure vendors.
- Convergence: IIoT requires that any part of a distributed system can access data. Since much of an IIoT system exists within IT (servers and the cloud), this creates the need for a converged, synchronized network on unified buses. With existing networks using disparate buses, it is difficult to get data to the IT systems in a flexible, scalable way.
- Improved Asset Utilization: production uptime can be increased through more complete system monitoring coverage and real-time delivery of systems status and events.
- Reduced Implementation Costs: TSN promises to reduce implementation costs and to simplify network infrastructure. One reason for this is that Ethernet is used so broadly in numerous different markets. This assures silicon availability over the long term, continued technology updates, and amortized development costs.
- Reduced Development Lifecycle: higher system composability provides the ability to more easily upgrade subcomponents while retaining existing sub-systems.
- Increased Flexibility: the ability to integrate new features and functions to augment existing systems.
- Enhanced Security: historically control networks had little to no built-in security. This creates a large vulnerability as has been demonstrated in high publicity cases such as Stuxnet and in-vehicle hacking. Because TSN uses standard Ethernet, the security mechanisms already deployed in IT networks can be applied to control networks with TSN.
What challenges does Time Sensitive Networking have to overcome?
- Refresh cycles for switches before stipulated time: with TSN in place, enterprise switches have a seven to ten-year refresh cycle only. Even if the switches remain functional, a mid-cycle refresh with TSN will prove cost-prohibitive.
- Network ownership: traditionally, it is the line of business that owns the OT network. This is because of the proprietary equipment and protocols. However, with TSN, you will be required to transfer the ownership to the IT organization.
- Unjustified cost premiums: organizations would be tempted to go for alternative technologies available at competitive prices or stay with the traditional Ethernet.