Open Networks: What’s in it for You?

all_things_scalableIt takes a village to raise a… standard, at least, an open standard.  In the case of PROFINET, that village consists of like-minded companies that recognize the benefits of working together towards a common, open standard.  What’s in it for them?  At least these couple things:

1. A cross-pollination of ideas from many sources fulfills the old adage that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  For example, GE Intelligent Platforms contributed to the development of the redundancy capabilities in PROFINET; other companies contributed to other facets of the standard.

2. No one company makes everything a user needs.  By adopting an open standard, companies can meet the needs of their customers with their own equipment AND equipment made by others—knowing that this mixture of equipment is guaranteed to work together.

The more important question in all this is “What’s in it for you?”

1. Equipment from a mixture of vendors using the same network just works.  PROFINET devices are required to be certified in independent test labs.  And the test labs are, in turn, certified by PI (PROFIBUS and PROFINET International).

2. Vendors competing increases the availability of devices, and the competition keeps the costs down.

3. With a large market for one network, specialist companies that develop diagnostic tools are eager to develop them.  Users benefit from having a selection of tools available, and using them helps speed troubleshooting and minimize downtime.

4. Due to the high volume of network users, there are many ways to be trained on the technology.  For PROFINET, PI North America offers white papers, install guides, webinars, free one-day training classes, and Certified Network Engineer classes.  Using a network is not the same as using point-to-point hard wiring so a little education is a good idea.  Visit us at to get started.

Carl Henning

Carl has had experience with a machinery maker, a process instrument company, several system integrators, an HMI company, and now with PI North America. He focuses on educating the industrial automation market about PROFINET. Carl blogs about industrial automation, fieldbus, and Industrial Ethernet at

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