What is Ethernet/IP?

EtherNet/IP was first presented in March of 2000 and is the result of a joint effort between ControlNet International (CI), the Open DeviceNet Vendor Association (ODVA), and the Industrial Ethernet Association (IEA), to produce a network protocol that addresses the high demand for using the widely popular Ethernet network in control applications.

In a nutshell, EtherNet/IP (Ethernet Industrial Protocol) is traditional Ethernet combined with an industrial application layer protocol targeted to industrial automation. This application layer protocol is the Control and Information Protocol (CIP™). EtherNet/IP was created in an attempt to overcome the shortcomings of traditional IEEE 802.3 Ethernet as applied to the industrial automation world.

For many years, the Control and Information Protocol (CIP™) has been widely used in industrial environments. CIP™ provides both real-time and informational message structures, and is designed to be “wire-independent” in that it can work with any data-link and physical layer. As CIP™ is freely available, accessible to anyone, easy to understand, and widely supported by many manufacturers of industrial equipment, it is a natural candidate for use in building other industrial communication standards. CIP™ was first adopted by DeviceNet in 1994, which merged the popular CAN protocol with CIP™ to form DeviceNet. ControlNet was the next protocol to adopt CIP™ in 1997. ControlNet is considered more deterministic and offered higher speeds (up to 5MB) than DeviceNet, plus it extending the range of the bus up to several kilometers with the use of repeaters.

Next, EtherNet/IP merged traditional IEEE 802.3 Ethernet with the Control and Information Protocol (CIP™) as its application layer to build an even more powerful industrial communication standard. EtherNet/IP shares the same physical and data link layers of traditional IEEE 802.3 Ethernet and uses the same TCP/IP suite of protocols. This makes it fully compatible with existing Ethernet hardware, such as cables, connectors, network interface cards, hubs, and switches.

Since EtherNet/IP uses the same application layer protocol used by both DeviceNet and ControlNet, this allows these protocols to share common device profiles and object libraries, and also helps to make these types of devices interoperable on the same network.

Acromag manufactures a full line of Ethernet I/O modules with Ethernet/IP communication.

Summary sheet of Acromag Ethernet/IP-compatible modules.

For more information, download our Introduction to Ethernet/IP White Paper.

Acromag also offers Modbus TCP/IP Ethernet I/O products.