EtherCAT Technology Group officially supports EtherCAT G

The Technical Committee of the EtherCAT Technology Group (ETG) has accepted EtherCAT G as an addition to the EtherCAT standard. Moving forward, EtherCAT G, which extends EtherCAT technology to 1 and 10 Gb/s, respectively, will be supported and promoted by the ETG.

This example network architecture incorporates standard EtherCAT, EtherCAT G and EtherCAT G10 for faster communication and greater data throughput.

EtherCAT G was first introduced by Beckhoff Automation in 2018 as an extension of the EtherCAT standard. Beckhoff recently presented the addition of gigabit technology to the ETG, and after a thorough review, the organization’s Technical Committee has accepted it. Right now, the ETG is working to add EtherCAT G to the corresponding technology specifications. Dr. Guido Beckmann, Chairman of the ETG Technical Committee, explains why the ETG welcomes the active integration of EtherCAT G into the ETG: “EtherCAT is already the fastest industrial Ethernet fieldbus, and will remain so due to its special functional principle. With EtherCAT G, particularly data-hungry applications, such as machine vision and high-end measurement technology, can now also be integrated. This extends the range of applications for EtherCAT technology and makes it even more viable for the future.”

EtherCAT is already a well-known technology that is a proven solution for the majority of application and currently supports 100 Mb/s. However, EtherCAT G offers additional advantages to the user, especially in applications where particularly large amounts of process data must be transported per device. This can include, for example, machine vision, high-end measurement technology, and complex motion applications that go beyond the scope of classic drive control. As an extension of the standard EtherCAT technology, EtherCAT G is fully compatible; existing devices designed for 100 Mb/s can be seamlessly integrated into an EtherCAT G system, and EtherCAT G devices in a 100 Mb/s EtherCAT system behave like classic EtherCAT devices.

The central element of EtherCAT G is the use of new EtherCAT Branch Controllers, which essentially fulfill two main functions: first, they act as a kind of node for the integration of segments from 100 Mb/s devices; and second, they enable parallel processing of the connected EtherCAT segments. This significantly reduces the propagation delay in the system which increases system performance many times over previous levels.

As is typical for EtherCAT, the integration of EtherCAT G is simple, as the extension is fully compatible with the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standard and no software adaptions in controllers are required for the standard mode. “The advantages of EtherCAT are well known and include processing on the fly, comprehensive diagnostics, simple configuration and integrated synchronization,” says Beckmann. “These attributes are of course fully retained when EtherCAT G is used.”

acontis will support this upcoming enhancement to the EtherCAT specification in a future update of its market leading EtherCAT Master software, EC-Master.

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