There has been a lot of discussion recently regarding the application of Ethernet at various levels of the control hierarchy. Since Ethernet is so prevalent in the office and is frequently used as the enterprise network for high-end controllers, it would seem to be natural to use Ethernet at the control level or even at the device level as proposed by some in our industry. The arguments for its application include low cost, good connectivity and simple migration to higher speed networks. The cry to use "standard" Ethernet for control applications requires an understanding of the fundamentals of Ethernet.
To learn more about the basics of Ethernet, be sure to watch our new video, "Introduction to Ethernet." The information in the video is based on material from the Industrial Ethernet University (IEU), which is a free online resource that provides objective, content-rich learning materials on Ethernet, especially as it relates to installations in factories and buildings.
A total of 24 lessons are available for study at the IEU. HVACR students and industry professionals are free to read and learn the concepts at their own pace, returning to each lesson as often as desired. 100 and 200 level courses provide the basics of Industrial Ethernet from the physical and data link layers up through the network, transport and application layers. 300 and 400 level courses fine tune this knowledge with examples of how Ethernet has expanded into industrial and other real-world applications. 500 level courses explain how building control networks (such as BACnet) utilize Ethernet for control, how to connect Wi-Fi to an IP backbone, and how wireless communication is challenging wired networks for the future.