What is the difference between PROFINET and Ethernet? Can you give us a PROFINET vs Ethernet comparison?
We get these questions quite often. They can be difficult to answer because PROFINET and Ethernet are complementing technologies, not competing technologies.
IEEE 802.3 specifies the standards that makeup Ethernet. Ethernet sits on Layer 1 (physical layer) and Layer 2 (data link layer) of the ISO/OSI model. Ethernet frames include information such as the MAC addresses of sender and receiver, virtual LAN (VLAN) tagging, and Quality of Service (QoS). Ethernet is used to connect nodes in a Local Area Network. The physical link between nodes in an Ethernet network can be, for example, a twisted pair cable, or a fiber optic cable. Nowadays, Ethernet is the most common communication medium worldwide; used in homes, enterprises, factories, and in general infrastructure due to its speed, affordability, and versatility.
PROFINET is an Industrial Ethernet solution. It is a communication protocol to exchange data between controllers and devices. Controllers can be PLCs, DCSs, or PACs. Devices can be I/O blocks, vision systems, RFID readers, drives, process instruments, proxies, or even other controllers.
PROFINET sits on Layer 7 of the ISO/OSI model since it is an application. It defines cyclic and acyclic communication between components, including diagnostics, functional safety, alarms, and other related information. Also, PROFINET is based on standard Ethernet for its communication medium. High bandwidth, large message size, and versatility are just some of the benefits of having Ethernet on the factory floor.