Hirose: Connecting the future
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Gigabit EtherCAT network


Gigabit EtherCAT network

The technology expansion EtherCAT G takes EtherCAT performance to a new level by delivering the Gbit Ethernet speeds needed to support highly data- intensive applications. This latest technology expansion is compatible with the established 100 Mbit/s EtherCAT standard, and also provides the familiar ease of use. In addition, the new branch controller model for EtherCAT G enables efficient operation of multiple network segments in parallel.

EtherCAT G supports standard Ethernet transmission rates of 1 Gbit/s; its EtherCAT G10 counterpart, already introduced as a proof-of-concept technology study, is even faster with data rates of 10 Gbit/s. The sharp increase in transmission rates beyond the standard 100 Mbit/s provided by EtherCAT significantly increases the possible data throughput. With propagation delay times through devices as a limiting factor on the one hand, but boosted by the newly introduced branch model on the other, EtherCAT G can deliver a two- to sevenfold performance increase, depending on the application. Hans Beckhoff, the company’s Managing Director comments: “EtherCAT G and G10 raise performance to entirely new levels that will enable our customers to build the best, highest-performing machinery in the world! EtherCAT G and G10 are not meant to replace the highly successful EtherCAT standard based on 100 Mbit/s Ethernet. The new performance levels are intended as system-compatible expansions.

EtherCAT G achieves the higher transmission speeds without changes to the protocol or the EtherCAT master software. Fully compatible with the established EtherCAT standard, EtherCAT G provides the same field-proven capabilities, including built-in diagnostics, high-precision synchronisation, and telegram processing on the fly. It also conforms to the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standard. EtherCAT G has been developed specifically in anticipation of extremely large-scale applications and greater use of highly data-intensive equipment, such as machine vision cameras, complex motion control systems and measurement equipment operating with high sampling rates.

EtherCAT and EtherCAT G can be combined within a heterogeneous network. This means that EtherCAT G slaves can operate in a 100 Mbit/s EtherCAT network, and vice versa. In both instances, EtherCAT G equipment falls back to the 100 Mbit/s rate. With the new EtherCAT G branch controller model, EtherCAT branches can be set up to enable the parallel operation of 100 Mbit/s segments within a 1 Gbit/s network through a conversion of transmission rates. For instance, the new EK1400 EtherCAT G Coupler can create a branch that steps the data rate down from 1 Gbit/s to 100 Mbit/s, allowing the wide range of standard EtherCAT Terminals available to be used as I/Os on an EtherCAT G network. Based on the branch controller capabilities of the EK1400, the 1 Gbit/s data rate on the EtherCAT G trunk remains unaffected.



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