Ensures Ethernet in time-sensitive situations

Many networks or systems today are time-sensitive or at least time-dependent. The effects of improper timing range from a loss of comfort to life-threatening situations. Precise timing and prioritisation of functions are essential for both, safety and comfort.

Today, networks and hosts are already in a complex, distributed architecture. Future functions will be even more complex, distributed, interconnected and necessarily interdependent. Their correct behaviour will not simply be a matter of functional correctness that is, making sure that the results of the computations are correct, but they will depend on timing and reliability constraints. Building such networks and systems in an efficient, predictable and reliable way in spite of the increased complexity of functions and architectures in a way that allows predictable integration of software components and platforms is the future major challenge in the communications industry.

Time Critical Networks (TCN) develops software tools for design, optimization and analysis of Ethernet networks with promised response times, determined level of jitter and packet delivery guarantees.

Traffic Load Analysis virtually in your laptop

Traffic Load Analysis of networks and physical nodes

  • Discover utilization and hotspots in your networks
  • Identify working configurations
  • Do Trade-off, What-if and Response-time Analysis.

Ethernet falls short?

Given the above advantages, many people has believed standard regular Ethernet (IEEE 802.3) falls short compared to field buses and other network technologies in areas of determinism. Traffic prioritization is one way when Ethernet meets more demanding industrial applications. Standards, such as Ethernet Audio Video Bridging (AVB), Gigabit Ethernet or Precision Time Protocol (PTP, IEEE 1588 v2) also points in the direction of higher level of determinism. 

Despite these standards, Industrial Ethernet in this form would still be lacking certain properties that are of major significance for industrial applications.

These include:

  • Transmission mode and real-time response; in other words, it is guaranteed that frames are transferred within a specified time,
  • Determinism; put simply: The same preconditions always lead to the same results and there are no undefined statuses,
  • Fault-tolerance and redundancy with redundancy mechanisms that can compensate the failure of components.

In addition, increased service convergence and network complexity demands more efficient and optimized network design. 

Determinism now possible

With years of research within the field of real-time schedulability analysis TCN offers increased determinism to standard regular Ethernet with latency, jitter and packet-delivery guarantees.

Utilizing the technology through network design and analysis software TCN reduces the deterministic advantage of traditional technologies and increases network life cycle efficiency paving the way for Ethernet in future industrial applications.

TCN has developed software tools which anlyzes traffic flows conveyed across standard Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) Ethernet switches supporting IEEE 802.3. The software tools, either virtually or physically, if available, also finds an upper bound on jitter as well as the requested amount of buffer space on each switch. Together these analyzes ensure that (i) Ethernet frames are received by their deadlines and (ii) no packet loss occurs. 

Technology insight

There are white papers that argues for use of standard regular Ethernet (IEEE 802.3) in time-sensitive applications. TCN Ethernet TimeAnalyzerTM is an model-based Ethernet design and analysis tool with the ability to compute upper bounds on, e.g., flow frame latency and jitter. The white paper also introduces the reader into timing analysis, the mathematical framework on which TCN Ethernet TimeAnalyzer's computational engine is built.

White papers are to be found under Get Help Download.