PI North America and the PIC (PROFI Interface Center)  hosted an hour-long webinar on May 22, 2018, about Diagnostics and PROFINET. If you missed it, the webinar and presentation slides are available HERE. Many attendees viewed the webinar live and were able to interact with the presenters. There were many interesting questions during the webinar. As a recap and a way to summarize most of the questions, they are answered below…

1.-Is there a generic level of alarm tag (ex. maintenance required) contained in the real-time telegram?

Yes, the alarm message information does not only include the type of alarm (device, network, process), but also the priority.

2.-What advantages can a PROFINET Managed Switch provide in comparison with an Industrial Managed Switch (non-PROFINET)?

Industrial managed switches are rugged smart devices with many diagnostics capabilities. PROFINET managed switches offer an additional advantage since they will look like IO to the PLC. This means the switch will have a GSD (General Station Description) file just like any other PROFINET device. And the GSD file will define what diagnostic information can be read. For example, if a device is unplugged from a switch port, the PLC logic can execute an appropriate action.

3.-Under high load conditions can you guarantee every telegram will be copied to a mirror port? 

It is possible that you can lose a telegram during high load times since the port mirroring messages have lower priority on the switch. If you think you may encounter this issue use a TAP or other advanced capture tool to prevent losing information.

4.-Can you mirror a port that is currently part of a ring for diagnostics information?

Yes, you can mirror a port that is part of a ring topology. You will observe traffic directed to that specific port as specified in your topology setup.

5.-Where can I find advanced capture tools (TAP, continuous monitoring, etc)?

Those tools are available from many vendors. You can start searching for these products in our Product Finder (https://www.profibus.com/products/product-finder/), but ultimately searching the web or your preferred vendor website may be your best bet.