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Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) is a set of standards that, thanks to low transmission latency and high availability, facilitate real-time control streams in converged Ethernet networks. Applications include control systems for autonomous vehicles and industrial plants. Hirschmann Automation and Control GmbH, a subsidiary of Belden Inc., used this year’s HANNOVER MESSE to show that switches supporting TSN are already a viable and practical option. Prototypes of TSN-enabled Hirschmann RSPE35 switches that support this open, real-time Ethernet technology were successfully showcased by the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), the OPC Foundation, Sercos International and SmartFactoryKL in several different demonstrators.

The centerpiece of each of these demonstrators was TSN-protected industrial communication at Fast and Gigabit Ethernet speeds. At the IIC and OPC Foundation stands, visitors had the chance to see how multiple independent TSN real-time streams were transmitted between Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) over the same network infrastructure, without being impacted by other traffic types such as camera data. Meanwhile, the Sercos International and SmartFactoryKL demonstrators highlighted a migration path that allows existing real-time Ethernet solutions such as Sercos III to be integrated into a TSN-enabled infrastructure in order to make use of the scalable bandwidth and flexible topology of an Ethernet-based network. Switches from Hirschmann with a "TSN Ready" logo will be available later this year and can be retrofitted for this technology with a free software update.