Protocol Series: What is Ethernet/IP?

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What is a protocol?

We’re talking about a communications protocol, which is a common ‘language’ which allows connected devices to ‘talk’ to and understand each other. An industrial control system will generally use a common protocol or language between devices such as a PLC, a HMI touch screen, a variable speed drive or a SCADA system.

What is Ethernet/IP protocol?

Ethernet/IP is a network communications protocol commonly used in industrial control systems. It’s an open (free for manufacturers to implement) protocol which uses the CIP (Common Industrial Protocol) over the ubiquitous Ethernet interface. It was introduced in 2001 by an industrial standards development group called ODVA (Open DeviceNet Vendors Association).

Which devices support Ethernet/IP?

Because of its widespread adoption, many PLC manufacturers offer Ethernet/IP connectivity either onboard or using communications cards. Allen-Bradley in particular offers broad support across their range, with Siemens, Schneider, Omron and Mitsubishi also offering it via add-on cards. A range of converters or gateways are also available to convert from almost any other protocol to Ethernet/IP.