Ethernet, ARCNET, CAN - Proposed Network Hierarchy for Open Control

When we discuss control strategy, the issue of networks is always raised. Since network requirements vary depending upon the complexity of control, different network technologies are usually specified for the various levels of control hierarchy. It is common to identify three different networks when describing a control system. The lowest level is the device network that is used to link sensors and actuators to controllers. Above that is the control level that links the various controllers together. The highest level is the information level used to link the control system to the enterprise-wide information system. With the movement toward open control systems, it is only logical to pick three open networking standards to complete the control system networking hierarchy. What is recommended here is Ethernet for the information network, ARCNET for the control network and CAN for the device network.

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