Microchip logo
  • All
  • Products
  • Documents
  • Applications Notes

Factory Automation

Network Topology and Redundancy

Unlike traditional office 'star' networking, the distributed line or hybrid topology is common across factory automation networks. Distributed line network topology simplifies cabling and can extend Ethernet’s reach without the expense of fiber. A drawback of a linear topology is the reduced reliability caused by a node or single link failure. Nodes connected on either side of the failure are inaccessible. To improve line topology reliability a 'ring' network is typically implemented, providing 'ring redundancy.' Here all nodes are accessible even with a single failure.

factory automation

Microchip’s EtherREL™ technology provides a hardware-assisted implementation for common industrial redundancy protocols, such as Rapid and Multiple Spanning Tree Protocol (RSTP/MSTP), Device Level Ring (DLR) and High-availability Seamless Redundancy (HSR).

Network Reliability is boosted with LINK MD®+ diagnostics, in addition to traditional fault monitoring, providing an embedded Signal Quality Indicator (SQI) for determining dynamic link error margin. Furthermore, Quiet-WIRE® enhanced EMC performance delivers industrial-strength physical layer reliability in the harshest environments, even when operating over low-cost unshielded cabling.
fa ring topology
fa hybrid topology

Deterministic Time Synchronization

Next-generation industrial automation systems are increasingly being architected around distributed, high-performance networks that blend low-messaging latencies and integrated timing. Traditionally, timing information was distributed via a dedicated network, separate from the main application. The industry has migrated to a single converged data and distributed timing network based on standard Ethernet communications supporting IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol (PTP). IEEE 1588 PTP offers a method for distributed synchronization with sub-microsecond performance over an existing Ethernet communication network.

Microchip’s innovative EtherSynch® deterministic switching platform combines Ethernet communications, advanced Quality of Service (QoS), IEEE 1588v2 and IEEE 802.1AS, distributed synchronization and precision GPIO in a highly integrated, energy-efficient solution.

ethersynch diagram