Reigning in the Wild West of factory floor connectivity
Industrial communications is a space littered with multiple-protocols from Ethercat to Profibus to Ethernet IP, none of which have singular support. Guaranteeing that information can travel from one point to the next in a fixed and predictable amount of time amongst all these protocols was much of the goal of the IEEE 802.1Q or time-sensitive networking (TSN) technology. Texas Instruments showcased their increasingly industrial centric portfolio with the Sitara AM6x gigabit TSN-enabled processors that actively support ten protocols.
The AM65 demo showed three nodes all based on the processor running over gigabit TSN network — a typical factory use case where one node might be streaming video, PLC data, and motor control data. These are all tight control loops that must happen on a specified timescale per TSN. No matter how much bandwidth is being consumed by the nodes, the AM65’s low latency and on-chip accelerator everything will happen on the same rugged schedule as predicted.