Beckhoff: Get ready for the next automation revolution
Industrial Ethernet Book Issue 66 / 93
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10Gbps Industrial Ethernet and Category 6 infrastructure

Modern plants and machines increasingly need data rates of 1Gbps and even 10Gbps. Category 6A components allow 10Gbps Ethernet to be reliably used in an industrial environment as long as certain standards are met.

Installing Category 5 components with balanced cabling provides an installation suitable for Fast and Gigabit Ethernet. However, the flexible cords have a maximum span of 10m, permanently installed cables can be 90m long, and channels can connect any two active devices separated by a maximum of 100m. Since the cords offer inferior transmission properties to permanently installed cables, it is essential to comply with the stipulated lengths.

It is possible to compensate this by using Category 6A components, but it may be difficult to calculate. Therefore, this type of cabling is only really suitable for application-specific infrastructures in production facilities. It is not appropriate for communication cabling between machines and production systems. Note that different standards exist to implement a channel for 10Gbps Ethernet. The American Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) 568 standard describes a Category 6A channel that is achieved with Category 6A components. Category 6A is a further use of Category 6, in which these components can continue to be used for a higher frequency range. As Category 6 is just defined up to 250MHz, transmission quality is reduced for the frequency range from 250 - 500MHz - this results in a higher percentage of repeated Ethernet packets which is unacceptable in industry with its real-time requirements.

ISO/IEC TR24750 shows how an existing network can be qualified for 10Gbps Ethernet, where measurements prove that the cabling is suitable for 10Gbps Ethernet. This can often be achieved with good Category 6 components, careful cable routing, and short channel lengths. However, it is not possible to design new channel with this approach.

ISO/IEC 11801 Amendment 1 defines the requirements placed on a channel. Class EA is specified for 1 - 500MHz without reducing the quality. This avoids the risk of a high-frequency signal transmission error and the resulting repetition of the Ethernet frame packet. Real-time systems, as well as systems with a high data rate, can also be reliably configured. Amendment 2 describes the requirements of Category 6A components used in the Class EA channel. The designed configuration of a new channel - without incurring the risk of a data transmission error - is possible only when Category 6A components are used.

Bernd Horrmeyer Phoenix Contact

Source: Industrial Ethernet Book Issue 66 / 93
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